Kamala Harris stumps for California governor amid recall fight

Long line of Democratic heavyweights move to bail out Gavin Newsom

John Bowden
Washington DC
Wednesday 08 September 2021 23:04
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Vice President Kamala Harris became the latest Democrat with national prominence to join California’s governor Gavin Newsom to rally his supporters in his recall battle on Wednesday, but she won’t be the last to join the governor’s last-minute defence.

Ms Harris returned to her home state on Wednesday for her first in-state official event since taking office as vice president; she previously served as the state’s junior senator for part of one term before joining the 2020 presidential race.

The California governor faces a recall effort with voting set to end in less than a week. Criticism of Mr Newsom in the state grew to a fever pitch last year amid restrictions placed on public life relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, which Mr Newsom was seen apparently flouting at an expensive dinner with lobbyists.

At an event in the Bay Area, Ms Harris joined others in painting the race as a battle between the progressivism that has often defined the state of California’s politics vs the far-right-turn which the Republican Party took under former President Donald Trump and continues to follow to this day.

"We are here today to say we fight for Gavin Newsom. We fight for our country. We fight for the values we hold dear. We fight for working people. We fight for organised labor. We fight for Dreamers. We fight for women. We fight for voting rights,” she said.

"They wouldn't be trying to recall him except that they know he is a national leader,” the vice president added of Mr Newsom. “This is why they are putting so many resources and time into trying to take out Gavin Newsom. It is because of his vision. It is because of the agenda.”

She also joined other Democrats in recent days in piling on Texas Gov Greg Abbott, who recently signed into law a restrictive bill banning abortions after six weeks and deputising state residents to file lawsuits against those who take part in or in any way aid the procedures.

“That is not who we want in our leaders,” she said of Mr Abbott, while referencing some of his comments on the issues of rape and abortion. “We want in our leaders someone like Gavin Newsom, who always speaks the truth.”

Other prominent party members are set to show their support for Mr Newsom in the coming days; Politico reported as Ms Harris was still in California that former President Barack Obama would feature in ads for the governor next week as the last voters head to the polls.

President Joe Biden is also planning to visit the state to rally support for Mr Newsom before the final day of the recall effort, according to the White House.

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