California Governor Newsom defeats recall effort in landslide

Conservative radio host Larry Elder dominates vote among replacement candidates - but incumbent Democrat Gavin beats recall by 2-1 margin.

David Rosenberg , | updated: 10:54 AM

Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom

California Governor Gavin Newsom defeated an effort to recall him from the governor’s mansion Tuesday, with voters rejecting the recall by a roughly two-to-one margin.

With an estimated 64% of the votes counted as of Wednesday morning, 5,776,339 ballots – or 64.5% of the total – voted “no”, keeping Newsom in office, compared to 3,180,185 ballots (35.5%) voting “yes” on the recall.

Newsom, a Democrat who once served as mayor of San Francisco, was elected in the heavily Democratic state in 2018, defeating Republican John Cox by a margin of 62% to 38%.

The special vote also asked voters who backed Newsom’s recall which candidate they favored.

With an estimated 62% of the vote counted, conservative radio host Larry Elder (Republican) led the pack with 46.2%, or 2,274,353 votes, followed by Youtuber Kevin Paffrath, a Democrat, with 10.0%, and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (Republican) with 8.8%.

California voters successfully recalled then-Governor Gray Davis (Democrat) in 2003, with replacing him with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican), who was subsequently reelected in 2006.

Polls had shown voters narrowly backing the removal of Newsom from office during August, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, but the polls swung definitively in the incumbent's favor in early September, with the final RCP poll average projecting 56.3% opposed to the recall, compared to 41.8% in favor.