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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a rally at St. Mary’s Center in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The last day to vote in the recall election is Tuesday, Sept. 14. A majority of voters must mark “no” on … more > If California Gov. Gavin Newsom avoids being recalled in Tuesday’s special election, he may have a U.S. president to thank, albeit not the one currently residing in the White House.
While his foes hammer his shaky record on crime, the economy and homelessness, Mr. Newsom has gone all-in on Donald Trump , plastering the former president’s face on campaign flyers and television ads warning that the recall threatens to usher in “an anti-vaccine Trump Republican.”
Polling indicates the strategy may be working. After weeks of surveys last month showing the election locked in a statistical tie, a flurry of recent polls shows that anywhere from 53% to 60% of registered voters now oppose ousting the first-term governor.
“If the recall were simply a referendum on his record, Newsom would have a big problem,” said Claremont McKenna College professor John J. Pitney Jr. in an email. “But he successfully framed it as a choice between a Democrat and a Trump-worshiping extremist Republican.”
Cast in the role of Trump surrogate in the Democratic script is Republican Larry Elder , the conservative Los Angeles radio host who entered the race in July and promptly leapfrogged the field of candidates seeking to supplant the embattled governor.
“ Newsom used Larry Elder’s candidacy to turn around his campaign,” said Dan Schnur, professor at UC Berkeley and USC and former spokesperson for Republican Gov. Pete Wilson. “ Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot or in the White House, so running against Trump wasn’t working. But Elder gave Newsom a present-day alternative against whom to contrast himself.”
Interestingly, the same surveys showing the recall’s popularity waning indicate rising support for Mr. Elder , who jumped from 18% in late July to 38% support in the UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll released Friday.
“ Elder was wildly successful at mobilizing conservative voters, but it looks like he motivated liberals […]
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JD Rucker – EIC