SPECIAL REPORT: Should California Democrats field a recall candidate? Too many GOP candidates?
SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The recall attempt to oust California Governor Gavin Newsom appears to be heading towards your poll this fall. The first question will have to do with the recall of the Democratic governor. The second question asks voters who should replace him in office.
At the moment there is more than 30 candidates who have registered their intention to run, with the California Secretary of State’s office. Not a single prominent Democratic Party politician has declared his entry into the race. This means that if more than 50% of voters want Newsom to disappear, it is likely that history will repeat itself and that the next governor of California will be in the Republican Party despite the party that composes only. 24 percent of registered California voters.
It’s a chance the Sacramento Democrats seem to want to take, including those who represent our central coast.
“No, I don’t think it makes sense for a Democrat to enter the race. I think we are united behind a governor that the voters of California have chosen, ”State Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) told KION.
Caballero calls the recall a partisan effort around the pandemic response.
“I think most of us were looking for good science and trying to stop something that was ravaging the world and killing hundreds of thousands of people. We all have ideas of what we would have done differently, but at the end of the day California has done a really great job of slowing down (the virus) and saving people’s lives. “
She also says a Democrat shouldn’t run because the state faces issues with the resumption of the pandemic, the season of droughts and wildfires, as well as the fact that whoever wins won’t. would only be in office for one year unless re-elected in 2022.
“They should convince voters that they should be governor for four more years, one year later. When you think about it, it’s just silly. You don’t manage that way. You don’t manage the fifth largest. . economy in the world that way, ”Caballero said.
State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) was just elected in November 2020, but he’s no newcomer to Sacramento. Laird was in his first term as a member of the Assembly in 2003, when then Governor Gray Davis was successfully recalled.
“Some of my Senate colleagues point out that every time I come to the legislature a recall occurs, so I would ‘stop coming to Sacramento,’” Laird said.
Voters removed Davis and elected Republican and celebrity Arnold Schwarzenegger. There was also a Democrat on the ballot at the time, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. A recent UC Berkeley poll shows that nearly half of all Democratic voters polled want a top candidate on the recall ballot in 2021, with 23% in doubt. But Laird says, if there is anything, Bustamante campaigning for governor in 2003 hurt Davis’ chances.
“Polls show (not having another Democratic candidate) might have been the only thing that saved Gray Davis. Now there are these conflicting impulses where a majority of Democrats in the polls say “put forward a candidate just to make sure we don’t lose the seat.” While there is the same general view that it is a full partisan race if no major Democrats join the recall and Gov. Newsom is able to run against Republicans, ”said Laird to KION.
Newsom’s camp insisted the Democrats would not join, but Republicans continue to add their names to the ballot. This includes Newsom’s 2018 nemesis John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Congressman Doug Ose and celebrity candidate Caitlyn Jenner.
This begs the question, should the GOP unite around a candidate to avoid dividing its support in case a Democrat enters?
“This is the role of a political party. The State of California has a political party that can endorse and support anyone. And I’m in listen mode and pushing friends to figure this out. And without a party primary, it’s hard to do that, ”former Monterey County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Gorman told KION.
Gorman ran for Congress in 2020 in California’s 20th District against Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley). Gorman says he’s encouraged by politically active people and insists on the ability to rally party support.
“I think Americans have fallen asleep, but we are waking up. I suspect things will be bad for Gavin Newsom, ”Gorman said.
While Gorman acknowledges that Jenner is bringing more attention to the race, he calls Faulconer and Cox the more serious contenders. Cox finished 2nd in the 2018 governor’s primary, ahead of all other Republicans, but lost to Newsom 62% -38% in the general election.
“Staying in power and in commitment is a huge help to John Cox. Cox also got the backing of national establishment Republicans like Condoleezza Rice and Mitt Romney in 2018, and for what it’s worth, he also got Trump’s backing, ”Gorman said.
Is there a lesson to be learned from 2003?
Political historian Dr David Anderson, emeritus professor of history at CSU Monterey Bay, says Newsom and Davis’ situations and challengers are not comparable, especially given the difference in public approval.
“The public opinion polls were against (Davis), and he actually had Lt. Gov. Bustamante campaigning saying ‘don’t choose it, choose me,’” Anderson said.
55 percent of “probable voters” in California approve of Newsom’s post as governor of California, and 35 percent disapprove of it, according to a survey released May 25 by the Public Policy Institute of California.
But all the same, there is a risk for the left of not putting anyone forward. Just as Newsom’s famous French Laundry dinner sparked a so-cool recall attempt, there are months left for another potential glitch.
“What if there is a scandal? What if COVID outbreaks? What if something was really different in October, November, every time that happened, ”Anderson said.
The May PPIC poll found that 57 percent of “likely voters” would vote “no” on the recall question, with 40 percent saying “yes” to remove Governor Newsom from office. Three percent chose “don’t know”.
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