How Gavin Newsom Survived The Recall

For a moment this summer, Gavin Newsom’s inner circle feared the effort to recall him could be drawing uncomfortably close.

In late July and early August, the Delta variant of the coronavirus was raging, threatening school reopenings in the fall. Public polling showed many Democrats were so apathetic about voting that it was possible — if turnout was low enough — that a Republican could win.

“Clearly there was a time in the summer where the thing went from … this optimism [about Covid] like, ‘Oh, the war is over, it’s ended,’ to ‘Oh, shit,’” said Ace Smith, Newsom’s lead strategist.

Against that backdrop, principals involved in the campaign detailed a furious effort by Newsom’s campaign to put the race out of Republicans’ reach. The turning point for the campaign, according to Newsom’s strategists, came in the governor’s adoption of aggressive mask and vaccine mandates — both widely popular in California — and in Newsom’s avalanche of spending depicting his top Republican opponent, Larry Elder, as an anti-science clone of former President Donald Trump.

“It was about making the campaign a referendum on the opposition, not just a kind of a dunking booth exercise on the incumbent,” said Sean Clegg, a senior Newsom strategist who oversaw paid media and messaging for the campaign.

Clegg reduced the Newsom campaign’s closing argument not to a rejection of the alternative: “A ‘Yes’ vote for this recall means electing a pro-Trump, anti-vaccine Republican who is going to reverse the mandates on Day One.” It was the presentation of that “simple choice,” Smith said, that marked the “turning point” in the campaign, cementing Newsom’s victory.

By Labor Day, Newsom had turned what started as an up-or-down vote on his governorship into a choice between him and Elder, the radio show host Newsom relentlessly tethered to Trump — with a predictable outcome in this staunchly Democratic state. For Newsom, the emergence of Elder as the GOP’s standard-bearer was an unexpected gift, so beneficial to the governor that many Republicans came to resent Elder for turning the race into a traditional — and unwinnable — choice election. …

Click here to read the full article from Politico


  1. It was accomplished the by the same “stupid” voters that year after year approved more taxes and fees. The people of California deserves its descent into third world status.

    • Agreed. Many don’t know about lack of forest management,. Draining our reservoirs in the name of protecting the fish, I could go on and on. They only watch CNN…..

      • Sorry — all your comments including this story are pure and utter bullshit!!!! They so like they did in 2020 – out and out cheating. What happened to 400k votes that mysteriously disappeared??? What happened to all the people that were disenfranchised – told they’d already voted????

        Nothing will convince me that it was even an election – try the word SHAM!!!!

        It is now OFFICIALLY – the Communist State of what was formerly CA of the USA!!!! We are officially the shithole of the country. NY – you’ve lost your title!!!! The dicktators have spoken!!!!

        • You’re so right! Gruesom couldn’t win if his life depended on it!!! It was outright cheating. Just look at the many, many Republican voters who went to vote yesterday only to be told they had voted already!!! They haven’t even had the time to count the votes for God sakes! I told Larry Elder not to accept the outcome!!!!! An AUDIT is called for!!!

        • I was an observer at a voting center in San Jose. At 8:20 pm we were still waiting for the couriers from Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters to come and pickup the ballots from a DUFFEL BAG that served as a drop box. (yes, no typo)

          The votes recorded at that time were about 36%; twenty minutes after close. I have never seen a California election go that fast. At a little after 9:00 pm Newsom declared victory. Voting results turned out close to the fake polling done before the election. Coincidence?

          California voters are stupid but I think there was more going on here. Stupid plus fraud makes a quick election!

          Smells like week old fish.

      • James Healey says

        Which should stand for “Communist News Network!!

    • You are one hundred percent correct. I would add the true mission of the State of California,most cities and counties is to increase taxes, fees, tolls and increase the profits of developers,big business, lawyers, SEIU and other gov employees unions and payrolls. What a mess. Another fact. I realized the SF bay area has only one all news radio station, KCBS, am/fm. How weird is that. Millions of people in the
      bay area and only one horrible liberal news station..

      kcbs am/fm.

  2. As I have oft repeated, given a chance the Republicans will shoot themselves in the foot. Thus far no Democrat has been found that can hit their foot.

  3. Richard Cathcart says

    “Michael says”, and I agree. A factually ignorant, truthful scientifically uninformed, lazy, Democratic Party propaganda en-bubbled populace has ensured the State will self-ruin. But, such a ruined State will be very difficult to run in the long-term. With public schools churning out dead-heads, with colleges filled mostly with MRS Degree seekers in financial debt, our high-tech industries will shallow out their employment in the State, shifting to places where young people are still focused and educated to produce $$$ profits for businesses. The collapse of CA’s tax base–the extinction of farming, ranching–both rurally and suburban locales soon will induce vast changes that not even the Democratic Party can false news media can manipulate successfully into a Win Situation. For awhile yet, their Bubble of Non-factuality will prevail, but again, in the long-term it will pop. My family endured the 1930s crumbling in CA. Others will now have to endure the mess of the 2020s.

  4. Robin Itzler says

    I fully agree with Michael. Stupid voters and unfortunately there are more of them than there are of us. The uber rich in California don’t feel the gas tax increase, highest income taxes, homelessness on city streets, sanctuary state violence, ridiculous pandemic mandates, etc. The supposed middle-class union workers vote with their unions, not realizing that the situation they are voting for can’t continue indefinitely. Republicans are tired of it, and many are voting with their feet and relocating to “free states” while others stay behind in “mask states.” Kinda sounds like the pre-days of the Civil War when we had “free states” and “slave states.” Perhaps the solution is to make California a Beacon of Stupidity and let all the stupid voters come here, all the conservative voters more elsewhere, and then California officially becomes what it already is: The People’s Republic of California.

  5. How do we know the election was true and fair. Until we have voter ID I don’t believe any of the results. Why vote?

  6. If you are one of the free people, California has become a slave state, and those of us seeking to govern our own lives in the traditional manner are continually whipped by our masters– the press, the tunnel-vision ignorant and the rich elites. Thank you CA Political Review for being our underground railroad – as long as they let you …

  7. Jane Kearney says

    Without any real Republican elbow grease, the low hanging fruit was left on the recall tree. There should have been bill boards all over this state with pics of Gavin wearing a crown at the French Laundry: Recall the King. Simple words about Newsom keeping inner city kids in failing schools while his are in private ones. Images of growing homeless encampments and plain images showing crime rates. This was the best opportunity to flip the Sacramento and showed clearly we have no game, and evidently little interest. Shame.

  8. A lady by me was already told she voted, when she had not. Clearly it was rigged.BUT, may I add we deserve 100% what is happening to us here in California AND the U.S…..

    People, not a few hundred, but THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS need to be and stay involved. Instead?


  9. Could it be both, ignorance AND VOTER FRAUD!!
    I believe with Dominion machines here and mailed ballots, and print your own ballot together, how can you even think that we know how the recall numbers really went?

    This is the perfect time to force an audit and clean voter rolls, etc. here in California. This is the least we R’s can put our energies to, as well as Schools Boards.

    Let us not give up. The problem is clear now and needs to be addressed. Without a forced audit, we will always have this result in the future no matter how good a campaign may be managed.

    As voter fraud evidence is uncovered in many states, it will be easier for California to be forced to do so as well.

  10. Steadman McGraw says

    I’m preparing to pack up my family and leave California for Texas in the next couple of years, primarily due to these mask mandates and “vaccine” mandates. My oldest child will be old enough to start school by then and I don’t want him being forced to wear a muzzle all day under the pretext that it prevents him from getting a virus that isn’t even dangerous to him. Fortunately (for my children), they are not going after kids younger than 12 with these experimental “vaccines” but that could change. It’s still shocking to me that a majority of this state want these things. But I guess it’s true what they say, that in a democracy people have the government they deserve.

    • If you don’t think these stinky, leftist progressive voters will run to a red state and ruin it you are sadly mistaken. Just look at their attempt to turn Texas purple. These leftist Soros losers vote for crap and then escape the state to ruin another. What we really need is to not allow Democratic voters into red states, they should remain in Chicago, NY, California and HI, the worst of the worst but by no means should they be allowed to live where they appreciate what the Republicans want and stand for. They are party voters and will never have a independent thought it must be bought and paid for by the progressive Democratic racist party, originators of the KKK and now Maoists.

      • Steadman McGraw says

        All the more reason for conservatives such as myself and my family to move to a red state and balance out their votes.

  11. Do you really think Gavin Newsom won? If you do let me sell you some fine swamp land in Florida…People were going to the polls all over California and being told they could not vote because they HAD ALREADY VOTED????Ole Nancy Pelosi was up to her CORRUPT TREASONOUS VOTER FRAUD WAYS….Right Nancy???Everyone would receive a ballot by mail or can download load it off the web site???VOTER FRAUD VOTER FRAUD VOTER FRAUD…and if YOU SAY DIFFERENT I will CALL YOU A LIAR TO YOUR FACE….

  12. The answer to the headline is “Lies and Cheating” an age old tradition of the DNC (CP).

  13. Hmmm: Just past 8pm, it was 70.0% No and 30.0% yes. The odds of an even % number for both right out of the chute is suspect. In the end, 26 counties voted with 50.1% and above in the YES category. LA basin and Bay Area again crushed the numbers for NO due to population density. Socialist and ignorant folks believed the cool aid for sure, and based vote on TV/Radio commercials as usual. Outspent 5 to 1 didn’t help either.
    Still, 3 million voted YES Guess the Pelosi will control him for the future…. So Ca folks, we take it up the wazoo with taxes, fees, useless train to nowhere, no water storage, 3rd. World electrical grid, Indoctrination over education, union thugs, and radical environmentalists along with following everything with spittle from a phony president and chicken laughing VP will continue. And, the price of gas/diesel will continue to crush the low income folks………. That is, at least the ones that ry to work……. Anybody know if voting machines were tied into internet???? My 2 cents here and God bless all of you that worked hard to make victory at least possible..

  14. So CA has a majority of people with low IQ’s and it shows. This is what you get when you let in every damn illegal and third world refugee into one state. Be honest. These people are NOT educated and when a free pizza is dangled in front of them, they will jump on it. Even if this was a straight up honest election, ( and we know it wasnt) those with any knowledge of economics and how things should be run, would lose. We are doomed in this state.

  15. US Citizen –
    Think about it…the massive illegal influx of world wide people coming into the US, and now the Ahfgans as well is the end of every state…and our country…for all the reasons you state.

    We are doomed now…but not just in California. Wherever you go you are in the US under China/Dem rule and we are going to fail as a country unless SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ACTS TO MAKE THIS DYNAMIC CHANGE — NOW.
    Time is of the essence. It is a United States of America problem…not a California problem.
    They have us coming and going on many many levels and without swift definite action to turn this around, we are all out of freedom and everything else we value.

  16. What happens when the day comes and a majority of the public no longer believes the voting results are accurate? When people believe we cannot change who wins elections, that the corruption has controlled the system? One of two things: Complete apathy, or a shooting revolution. No third option. At the rate firearms are being sold, I’d wager on option number two. There are a lot of people that will not submit to tyranny, no matter how its imposition is disguised.

  17. Well,, if Newscum really did win, his supporters don’t seem to have the guts to defend their choice of ethics over homelessness, gutted middle class, indoctrination for our children, race wars and retribution (did you know the committees deciding reparation is all black, just a little bit of discrimination don’t you think?), human waste on the streets, people dying on the streets while illegals are living in shelters and provided for their every need, segregation based on medical discrimination, isolation and killing of our elderly, preferential treatment for overseas special interests, thievery of settlements owed to fire victims, conspiracy to defraud customers in the real estate business, fraudulent disbursement of taxpayer funds in sweetheart deals otherwise known as nepotism. I suppose if one were to support that type of hollow moral stand – I’d prefer the shadows of anonymity too. But I don’t believe that he did win; I do believe that our government is corrupt and as such putting any election in the hands of such a government is a fatal conflict of interest. We need to work on taking the elections away from the government to be handled by small groups of vigilante citizens who will compile and report results. We are aware and convinced that the present system does not work. I caution the profiteering politicians to get what you can now – payday is coming

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