The results of the recall vote, which ends on Tuesday, will probably also affect next year’s US mid-term elections, experts say.
California decides whether to keep the governor Gavin Newsom in his job or to move in a more conservative direction, following a campaign that carried gaps in the most populous American state.
Newsom led the polls, but he still aggressively campaigned and brought in national democratic figures to urge voters to reject the recall, which ends on Tuesday.
He received one last print late on Monday from the President of the United States Joe Biden, who warned that the competition could shape the country’s focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, reproductive rights and the struggle to slow down climate change.
The results are also likely to affect the midterm elections in the United States in 2022, when control of Congress will be in balance again. The party that controls the White House has historically lost seats in the meantime.
Biden, who defeated Republican President Donald Trump less than a year ago, said questions defining the 2020 race have resurfaced in California, with potentially disastrous results if Newsom is removed from the recall vote.
Biden spoke to hundreds of cheering supporters during a twilight rally in the coastal city of Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, and referred to the leading Republican candidate, conservative talk show host Larry Elder, as a “clone” of Trump.
“Can you imagine him being governor of this state?” Biden asked as the audience responded with shouts “No, no!”
“You can not let that happen. There is too much at stake, says the president. “The nation’s eyes are on California,” Biden added, adding that the withdrawal of the vote will “clear the nation and … around the world.”
California voters have only two questions on Tuesday’s vote: Should Newsom stay? And if not, who will replace him? There are 46 replacement candidates to choose from. If voters keep Newsom, the results of the second question are irrelevant.
In a investigation released on Friday by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, 60.1 percent of likely voters said they preferred to keep the governor while 38.5 percent opposed him remaining in office.
Democrats have returned twice as many ballots as Republicans so far in a four-week early voting period, state data shows. Nearly 8.6 million of California’s 22 million voters have already voted by mail.
The mail-in voting began almost a month ago, with a personal vote taking place on Tuesday and the voting closing at 20:00 local time (03:00 GMT).
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, who reported from Los Angeles on Tuesday, said Democrats at the national level have focused strongly on the recall election.
“It’s … like a barometer reading of the mood in the country,” Reynolds reported. President Biden has had a pretty tough summer with nail-biting Delta variant cases of COVID-19 and of course the handling of departure from Afghanistan. ”
James Lance Taylor, a professor at the University of San Francisco, told Al Jazeera that the issues that critics have blamed Newsom for, from immigration to forest fires to gun violence, are not unique to California.
“There is not a single issue linked to Gavin Newsom that does not happen in other states, and Gavin Newsom has actually surpassed all,” Taylor said.
The difference, he said, is that the California Constitution allows revocation for no reason. “This is for no reason,” Taylor said.
Beyond seniors, other prominent Republicans in the race include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and businessman John Cox.
The most famous Democrat is Kevin Paffrath, a financial adviser with a large YouTube follower.