COVID weighs on California voters in Newsom recall election

The effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, as many heard in Tuesday’s election, was another political goal he pursued to bypass the normal election process in which Trump supporters lacked majority support.

“After Trump lost, I thought all this was going to end,” said Terry Lee, a 78-year-old San Bernardino resident who voted against the recall on Tuesday. “He defended voter fraud and [the votes] Told and recounted and nothing changed. But that’s not good enough, is it?”

For others to hear, Newsom has failed spectacularly in overreacting to the pandemic and is driving California into the landfills.

“I want a change,” said Eliza Boucher, 50, of Santa Ana, after voting for talk show host Larry Elder. “I’m sick of all the closures and wearing masks. I want the freedom we had before.”

From Los Angeles to Bakersfield, from Fresno to the North Shore, Californians turned out to vote on Tuesday – days and weeks ago, driven by the completely different realities of state and nation, each side smashed the other over the millions who voted. . It is an existential threat to its core values. Tuesday evening, early results showed Newsom on the way to defeating the costly effort to eliminate it.

Recall supporters portrayed the governor as an arrogant, out-of-touch leader who allowed homelessness and crime to spiral out of control while driving the middle-class people away with high taxes that fixed nothing. They say it has forced small businesses to close, while others remain open, keeping millions of children out of school and pushing for vaccine and mask mandates that deprive people of their basic freedoms.

Opponents largely say that Newsom is doing his best during the coronavirus outbreaks, and that without his leadership, the state will suffer a deadly third wave that will further cripple the economy and stifle student achievement. Even those who were cold-blooded about the governor didn’t understand why he shouldn’t complete his term and fight for re-election next year.

Such perspective cuts across large cities and rural towns, even individual families. Boucher’s 19-year-old son, Louie, said in Santa Ana that Newsom was doing his best to “try to protect the people of this state” and that it was his mother’s desperate efforts that were pushing California toward the pre-pandemic world. He wants to return. “Without mask powers, we’re returning to Square One.”

Among opponents of the recall, some were undecided about Newsom and voted further out of fear of a far-right takeover by the Elder.

“The last thing I want to do is undo everything we’ve accomplished,” said Edgar Montes, a 38-year-old space worker at Sylmar. “We’re not the best state, but we’re not the worst either.”

At Sylmar Charter High School, he said, mostly Elder stood in line to vote no to the recall because the state failed to roll back coronavirus-fighting measures. “We could easily be in a state like Florida or Texas,” he said. “Thank God, we are not.”

Montes said that Newsom will have a stronger opponent in the 2022 election and that no candidate in this ballot box will have a chance to beat him in that contest.

Jay Irene, a 71-year-old registered independent and retired library worker, was outraged at how the state was allowing the homeless to suffer. In a Montebello parking lot, he recently helped an 85-year-old homeless man clean the car he was living in as the election approached.

“I ran into him one evening. He was parked in the same spot every evening,” he said.

“Anyone can do better than our current elected officials on homelessness,” he said. “It’s breaking my heart.”

But he voted for Newsom in the last election and was still against the recall, which he called an “astronomical waste of money”.

“Couldn’t they have waited? What’s the hurry?” It was a rhetorical question that he answered himself. “The state has become so polarized that there is no way the Democratic Party can prevent the recall,” he said. “The opposition was very bad,” he said. “I just can’t see it being stopped. You’ve got enough signatures and you can recall the dogcatcher, for God’s sake.”

In Sacramento, Rick Avery was one of the undecideds. As the 69-year-old boy rode his electric blue mobility scooter on the sidewalks, he asked: “Recall today?” Turning the little peace sign ring on her pinky finger, she added: “I don’t watch the news much. Trump discouraged me from it.”

Osvaldo Alvarado, a 43-year-old social worker who describes himself as an independent from East Los Angeles, decided whether to vote in favor of recalling Newsom because a new governor would only have one year in office and would be elected by a minority of voters. But he did not like the fact that the Democrats had almost complete control over the state administration. Taxes were too high; homelessness was rampant. Finally, on Tuesday, he voted to recall Newsom and replace him with Elder.

“The concept of a candidate who gets 18% or 19% of the vote to be governor … basically I have a problem with that,” Alvarado said. “But finally I thought, okay, let’s give him a chance to see what he’s doing. If people don’t like him, hey, vote Democrat in a year or whatever you want at that point.”

In Fresno, John Kindler, not caring who replaced Newsom, pulled up to his police station in the white pickup truck of the window repair company. He thought the recall election was a waste of money and blamed the governor for it.

“This wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t gone to the French Laundry.”

Newsom’s unmasked visit to the extravagant Napa Valley restaurant with top lobbyists violated his own safety guidelines and infuriated many Californians on the political committee.

“He was leaving $15,000 here for a 50-year-old’s birthday party, and by the way, I couldn’t go to my friend’s funeral,” Kindler said.

He thinks California is in “terrible condition”.

“I don’t know how long the government hasn’t spent money on water storage. They spend billions of dollars on a train, and in 11 years they have laid 20 miles of tracks. 2. My amendment rights are always under attack. There’s crime and the homeless, and the roads are awful. I have a Corvette and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost fenders.”

Other voters who described himself as a longtime listener and fan of the Elder were most passionate about the Elder governorship, such as Eduardo Borrego, 55, a Paramount resident. “He’s a straight shooter and I think he’ll do what’s best for the state,” Borrego said. . “Newsom had a chance and failed.”

“Homeless. Crime. “I don’t feel safe anymore,” said Elsy Ruiz, 46, of Bakersfield. “Gas is too high right now. It has become choosing between a gallon of milk or gas.”

Ruiz has lived in Bakersfield since 1992 and said he saw on television how things were deteriorating in the state. He wasn’t even considering visiting Los Angeles anymore—a Third World country is better off, he said.

The tipping point was how Newsom handled the pandemic. “It was the cherry on the top,” he said.

It got so bad that he visited Texas and Arizona in June and July with his family to see where he could move. Ruiz believed Elder could help steer Golden State in a better direction. “The elder has a different perspective,” he said. “Let’s try something new.”

Up and down the state, there was little ambivalence for the Elder, just love or hate.

Wanda James, a retired teacher in her 80s in Pasadena, said she was “absolutely the wrong person to be governor of anything.” He said he listened to her on the radio because he felt “you should know what the crazy people are talking about”.

Lee, in San Bernardino, felt that the recall effort was just another way for national Republicans to take their pressure off blue California during droughts and fires.

“California takes a lot of hits,” he said.

But he felt that Newsom was “doing his best.” Even in these divided times, she was hopeful.

“California has always survived.”

Times team writers Cindy Carcamo, Andrew J. Campa, Maria L. La Ganga, Diana Marcum, Benjamin Oreskes, Lila Seidman, Donovan X. Ramsey, Anita Chabria, Melissa Hernandez, and Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.

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