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California Gubernatorial Recall Election 2021 summary for 15 September: Gavin Newsom votes, updates, polls, reactions...

California Gubernatorial Recall Election 2021 live results: Gavin Newsom votes, updates, polls, reactions...

California Recall Election

Thanks for being with us for our coverage of the California recall election.

Gavin Newsom is projected to win handsomely, with a projected 70 percent of the vote.

For continued updates on stimulus checks, unemployment benefits and the Child Tax Credit, follow our other live feed here.

Lessons learned as Republican bid to oust California Governor Newsom fails

Democrats are breathing easier on Wednesday after California Governor Gavin Newsom handily survived a Republican attempt to oust him through a recall election.

With midterm elections looming next year that will determine which party controls the U.S. Congress, Reuters looks at four takeaways from Newsom’s victory -- for both parties.


Newsom’s aggressive approach toward containing the coronavirus pandemic was the driver behind the recall movement. It also seems to be a primary reason he survived.

About one-third of voters said the pandemic was their top concern, according to an exit poll conducted for CNN – far more than any other issue.

As the Delta variant sweeps across the country, Newsom was able to draw a sharp contrast between states such as California, which have adopted sweeping virus mitigation measures, and Republican-run states such as Florida and Texas that have resisted them. The Republican favorite in the recall election, radio talk show host Larry Elder, said he would lift the state’s vaccine and mask mandates if elected.

“If the next few months going into the midterms get fought on vaccine mandates and masks and keeping kids safe, that’s good for Democrats,” said Robert Shrum, a longtime Democratic adviser who teaches at the University of Southern California.


Newsom nationalized the election, turning it into a test of Democratic versus Republican polices. He spent much of the closing days of his campaign railing against the actions of Republican-led states such as Texas, which recently enacted laws restricting abortion, curtailing voting access and expanding gun rights - and whose governor, Greg Abbott, opposes mask and vaccine mandates.

In both New Jersey and Virginia, the only two states with gubernatorial elections this year, both Democratic candidates are proposing much stronger requirements to manage COVID-19 and casting their opponents as out of step with the American public.

California's outcome, however, might not be entirely applicable to other states. Newsom went into the recall with a huge advantage: Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state 2-to-1. Moreover, the recall process was conducted largely by mail and did not follow the contours of a normal election.


Newsom also benefited from the rise of Elder as his primary foil in the election. With his history of taking controversial conservative opinions on his radio show and his steadfast support of Republican former President Donald Trump, Elder made an easy target.

As the recall election approached, Newsom and his allies began to frequently invoke Trump, who lost to Democratic President Joe Biden in California last year by nearly 30 percentage points.

"I got to run against the real Donald Trump," Biden said on Monday at a campaign event for Newsom. "Well, this year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I've ever seen."

Raphael Sonenshein, a political scientist at California State University in Los Angeles, said Newsom successfully framed the election to be about national Republicans and Trump, rather than his own record.

“If you run against yourself, you’re going to lose,” he said.

For Republicans, the election illustrated the dangers of having polarizing, pro-Trump contenders in competitive states and districts where moderates, independents and suburban voters will be decisive. That may be a lesson that carries over to Republican nominating elections next year, when a host of Trump allies and candidates endorsed by him will challenge more centrist politicians.

"Republicans can certainly squander potential opportunities with unsatisfactory candidate selection," said Chris Stirewalt, a Republican analyst with the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington.


The largest concern among Democrats heading into the recall was that energized Republicans would vote in droves while their own voters would neglect to show up in an off-year special election. But Newsom and his allies appear to have successfully alarmed Democrats enough to come out.

That should serve as an example for Democrats at the national level, who at times have focused more on reaching swing voters than turning out their base in state elections, Sonenshein said.

With high turnout in the 2018 midterm elections and now in the recall, Democrats are showing that they are motivated not just by their own party identification, but specifically by opposition to today’s Republican Party, added Mike Madrid, a Republican political strategist who is a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group.

“Trump in some specter is enough to get them out to vote," Madrid said.

Musician John Legend

In response to CNN Anchor and Chief National Affairs Analyst, Kasie Hunt:

"He faced a recall because it’s ridiculously easy to start a recall in California. He won in a landslide that probably won’t reflect much erosion from his last election, if any. This analysis seems to be ignoring these very salient points."

Actor Elijah Wood

A simple GIF and a huge sigh of relief.

Tomi Lahren - host on Fox News

"California, you fought the good fight and you put the fear of God in Newsom. Don’t lose steam. The fight ain’t over! Keep the energy high and be proud of how much you accomplished. You had him shaking!!!"

Michael Moore - Filmmaker

"CONGRATULATIONS GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM and your landslide victory! You crushed it. Another huge loss for Trump and Republicans. The American people do not want these hateful idiots in charge of anything. Gavin - keep moving California forward! Your state is the progressive leader!"

Twitter reacts...

As you'd imagine, there's been a lot of reaction to the Newsom victory against the recall. Let's have a look at a few of them...

Newsom proves Trumpism is not widely popular

The votes that are still coming in (and will be coming in for a while) in yesterday’s California recall election pretty much match those in the last round of pre-election polling, which showed Gov. Gavin Newsom retaining his post by a little more than a 60-40 margin, approximately the margin by which almost all Democrats running statewide in California win. That’s not just because the state is home to a more liberal electorate than that of the nation as a whole, but also because it’s long been home to a Republican Party that has refused to adapt to the state’s leftward tilt.

As the Los Angeles Times’ John Myers pointed out yesterday, there are now 6.6 million more voters in California than there were in 2003, when another Democratic governor, Gray Davis, lost his recall. And while there are now 3.5 million more registered Democrats in the state than there were in 2003, the number of Republicans is actually lower today than it was then.

Newsom campaign waking up the base

Governor Newsom kept his job in a landslide with the "No" vote on the recall 26 points ahead of the "Yes" vote, but just a few weeks ago it was a much different story. He was at serious risk of being ousted. A four-word message got the ball rolling to save his job.

Covid-19 hotspots match the "Yes" vote in California recall

One reason given for ousting Governor Gavin Newsom in the GOP-led recall election was over his mask and vaccine mandates. The parts of the state with lower vaccination rates and higher covid-19 infections are the areas that voted "Yes" to remove Gov Newsom from office.

GOP's missed recall opportunity

A Republican gubernatorial candidate hasn't won in California since 2006 when then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully got reelected for a second time. He originally came to office in 2003 after the last and only successful recall election in the history of California replacing Democrat Governor Gray Davis.

So what went wrong for the GOP in their effort to oust another Democrat governor. Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle has a look.

Why was there a recall election in California?


Why was there a recall election in California?

The incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom became only the second governor in California history to face a recall vote after a mask-wearing scandal last November.

Will Gittins explains

GOP option to run against Newsom in 2022?

California is a deep blue state where those who vote Democrat outnumber those who vote Republican two to one. This played out in the recall election to oust sitting Governor Gavin Newsom where he easily kept his job by a 40-point margin.

Larry Elders played to the Trump voters earning roughly the same amount of the vote as the former President in the 2020 election. Elder made innuendos about another run for governor in 2022, but can the GOP find a candidate that will draw more voters to the party?

California voting system strongest in the nation

Before Tuesday's election the top candidate to replace Governor Newsom if the recall had succeeded declined to say whether he would accept the results. Larry Elder was following former President Trump's playbook in his campaign putting out false claims of voter fraud before ballots were even cast.

However in his concession speech he made no mention of any "shenanigans". 

According to Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, “California’s voting system standards and testing requirements are the strongest in the nation.” She notes that the state requires voter-verified paper ballots and post-election audits.

Result Alert: 3:15 AM Pacific Time (6:15 am ET)

No Votes:     5,840,283        (63.9%)

Yes Votes:     3,297,145        (36.1%)

Total Votes: 9,137,428        (70% of the vote recorded)

Trump says that California recall was rigged

Despite there being absolutely no evidence to support the claim former President Trump released a statement saying the the California Recall Election was rigged. 

The statement was released via email due to his ban from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has said the former president would not be allowed back on its service until at least January 2023, citing a risk to public safety.

It's as though a pattern is emerging, much like a small child who doesn't get their way.

Result Alert: 1:55 AM Pacific Time (4:55 am ET)

No Votes:     5,818,348        (64.2%)

Yes Votes:     3,244,922        (35.8%)

Total Votes: 9,063,270        (67% of the vote recorded)

California Gubernatorial Recall Election 2021: live updates and results

It's the day after Election Day in California and the results have been coming in for a while.

Hello and welcome to our live blog on Wednesday 15 September 2021, offering you the latest updates and results on the historic gubernatorial recall election of Gavin Newsom. 

Throughout the day and night, we have been bringing you all you needed to know and will continue to do so until the last vote is counted.