By Abner Galino

Governor Gavin Newsom has defeated a recall election that was meant to remove him from office via a landslide win.

Through the help of Democratic Party state leaders, including the support thrown by US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the embattled California governor pulled off a remarkable victory.

Young voters get inside a voting center in Echo Park in the City of Los Angeles to cast their votes on whether to keep or boot out Gov. Newsom from office. Photo by Abner Galino

Biden and Harris both came to California to campaign against Newsom’s recall.

Voters were asked whether they wanted Newsom to be removed by answering  “yes” or “no.” They were also given 46 alternative candidates to replace the governor.

On Tuesday night, just a couple of hours after the voting precincts closed, Newsom told the media: “We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending his pandemic. We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear. We said yes to women’s constitutional right to decide.”

Newsom’s campaign warned voters that a Republican replacement would roll back Covid protections and betray the state’s progressive character.

As of presstime, many ballots are yet to be counted, but out of the more than 9.1 million votes tabulated as of Wednesday, nearly 64% were in favor of keeping Newsom in office.

In Los Angeles County where more than 71% of the ballots have been processed, about 1.6 million voters voted against the recall.

Elections chief Dean Logan has reported that about 275,000 ballots are still to be processed, about 255,000 of which are mail-in ballots.

The Los Angeles Times reported that there appears to be a strong relationship between Newsom’s support and the COVID-19 vaccination rates in areas that he won.

According to the LA Times, “counties with the lowest vaccination rates were most eager to oust Newsom. Conversely, those with higher vaccination coverage supported the governor at higher rates.”

“The data reveal a clear divide by geography along the two measures, with residents in smaller, more rural places less likely to support Newsom and getting vaccinated, according to the analysis.”

Voters mill around the Echo Park community center that was turned into a voting precinct on Tuesday’s recall election. Photo by Abner Galino

“San Francisco County, for example, roughly 74% of the population is fully vaccinated, and about 87% of its voters didn’t support the recall. Lassen County, on the other end of the spectrum, has just a 21% vaccination rate — and its voters overwhelmingly favored the recall at 83%.” 

“Los Angeles County has a vaccination rate of 59%, and 71% of its voters sided Across all parties, vaccinated voters were more likely to oppose the recall than their unvaccinated counterparts. For example, 15% of vaccinated Republicans were against the recall versus 1% of unvaccinated Republicans, according to campaign surveys.

with Newsom against the recall, according to the preliminary vote tally.”

In a related development, Ludovic Blain, California Donor Table Executive director, credited the defeat of the recall effort to the strength of the voters of color.

“As was the case in Georgia, grassroots organizers delivered Newsom’s victory; the Million Voters Project Action Fund, Alliance San Diego, Inland Empire United, Orange County Civic Engagement Table Action, Communities for a New California, and Lift Up Contra Costa Action activated voters —especially voters of color—at scale, outnumbering California’s 6 million Trump voters, with a fraction of their budget.”

“California isn’t a blue state without progressive people of color. Regional groups helped win congressional seats in 2012, 2018, 2020, turning previously red areas like the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and Orange County purple. We helped elect progressives like Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Goméz Reyes in Amazon warehouse-land (San Bernardino) in 2016, Anaheim City Councilmember Dr. Jose Moreno in Disney territory in 2016, and have helped turn San Diego from a right-wing Republican haven to a county with a progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors. California Donor Table (CDT) powered those wins.

“The recall defeat led by Progressive Latino, AAPI, Black and youth voters shows the path forward to stopping the Republican effort to take back the House in 2022, where at least three Republican-held and likely several Democratic-held House seats will become contestable. Politicians and the Democratic Party must take note that voters of color in the Central Valley, Orange County, San Diego, and the outskirts of LA are critical to our country’s future.”

The Pilipino American LA Democrats (PALAD) was among the organizations that campaigned vigorously to turn back the recall efforts against Newsom.

“He has provided critical lifelines to people and communities who need it most through stimulus checks, billions in grants for small businesses, strongest eviction protections in the entire country, and rent coverage for low-income families like those who live here in Historic Filipinotown,” said Jessica Caloza, PALAD Board Member, LA Board of Public Works Commissioner and Recording Secretary for the CADEM API Caucus shortly she and colleagues joined Gov. Newsom in a rally a couple of days before the election.