Biden likely to campaign in California for Gavin Newsom as he faces recall election

Mr Newsom has pulled ahead in the polls since last month

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Tuesday 07 September 2021 20:02
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Caitlyn Jenner visits homeless camp on California Governor campaign tour

Joe Biden will likely travel to California next week for a campaign stop to provide some much-needed reinforcement to governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat facing a close recall election on 14 September.

The president will spend the weekend visiting three different 11 September memorial sites, then will be expected in the Golden State, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“We’ll have more to report to all of you, or announce, on a trip he’ll take early next week,” Ms Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.

Vice president Kamala Harris, a former US Senator from California, will also pitch in for Mr Newsom, after a previous campaign stop was canceled amid ongoing attacks in Kabul, which killed 13 US service members.

An average of polls showed Mr Newsom pulling ahead by a relatively comfortable margin, with 53 per cent of respondents backing him on average, versus 42.6 per cent supporting the recall, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

Still, Democrats in California and across the country will biting their nails until the results come in. The recall against Mr Newsom is only the second in the state’s history to reach this stage, and if he loses, owing to the state’s unique election rules, it could mean a Republican with less than majority support controls the populous, extremely liberal state.

What’s more, one of California’s US Senators, Dianne Feinstein, is 88-years-old, leaving some political commentators to imagine a scenario where she resigns or passes away, leaving a GOP governor to appoint a temporary successor, tipping the balance of the Senate back to the Republicans.

So far, Mr Newsom’s critics have gathered 1.7 million signatures and raised about $8 million, a figure dwarfed by those who oppose the recall, who have raised $68.9 million, including a $3 million donation from Reid Hastings, the founder of Netflix.

Oddsmakers now put the chance of Mr Newsom hanging onto the governorship at 85 per cent.

On the chance that he loses, there are 80 different candidates vying to replace him including former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, reality star Caitlyn Jenner, and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder.

Support for the recall, which got off to a slow start, picked up during the fall, when photos leaked of Mr Newsom maskless at a lobbyist’s birthday party at the French Laundry, a luxury restaurant in Napa, even as much of the state was shut down. He has since apologised.

Other gripes from recall supporters take issue with Mr Newsom’s liberal stances on immigration, criminal justice, and other issues.

The editorial boards of most of the state’s major newspapers have gotten behind the governor, while the AFL-CIO group of unions has spent at least $2 million opposing the recall, as well as logging more than 1,100 volunteer shifts and making over 550,000 phone calls.

"Your family is here in the federation," Ron Herrera, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, told the governor at an event over the weekend.

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