Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging local residents to vote no on the recall effort taking place in less than a month.
“We thought the last election, we all said it: this is the most important election in our lifetime,” Newsom said at a Monday news conference in San Jose. “Well, we defeated Trump, we did not defeat Trumpism. Trumpism is alive and well all across this country, and yes even here in the great state of California.”
Newsom held the conference at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 332 Hall on Canoas Garden Avenue in San Jose. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Jean Cohen, executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council, stood alongside the governor as he spoke. San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco has also publicly defended Newsom, though she did not attend the conference.
Newsom faces criticism for his policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when he contradicted the state’s safety rules by attending an unmasked dinner at the French Laundry in November. A petition to oust Newsom attracted more than 2 million signatures, triggering the September recall election. Leading candidates in the race include talk radio host Larry Elder, businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Newsom said Elder doesn’t believe in climate change or that children should wear masks in school in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The guy on the other side of this question, the one who is overwhelmingly winning, doesn’t believe in minimum wage—thinks it should be zero dollars—doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose, doesn’t believe in an assault weapons ban,” Newsom said, suggesting that Santa Clara County residents should be offended by Elder’s position on guns given the devastation wrought by the mass shooting in May. “That’s what’s on the ballot September 14.”
Newsom said the candidates for governor do not believe in workers’ rights. There are 46 candidates running for governor in this recall election.
“These guys on the other side are vehemently anti-union… they don’t believe in collective bargaining, they don’t believe in protecting pensions, they don’t believe in the rights of people to come together across their differences to have a single voice and advance their rights,” he said. “They will be putting a stake in the progress that we’ve made to advance the rights of working people in this state if we’re not successful in voting no on this recall.”
A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Californians are evenly split on the recall question. Forty-eight percent of residents approve of the governor’s recall, while 47.5% oppose it.
Cohen said there will be severe consequences for working people if Newsom gets recalled.
“Working people will lose their pensions, they’re going to have less safety on the job because the new governor won’t really care about things like enforcing OSHA regulations,” Cohen said. “And we are potentially going to have a governor that doesn’t believe in the minimum wage, and all of that is unacceptable.”
Chavez said the key to defeating the recall will be turning out Democratic voters. The county supervisor said residents can visit the Registrar of Voters office on First Street in San Jose to submit their ballot, starting today.
She said it’s important for leaders to reflect the values of their constituents, and that the candidates opposing Newsom do not seem to agree with prevailing views on climate change or COVID-19.
“I’m worried that they may take us in a direction that’s not reflective of the majority of voters in our community,” Chavez said. “So we’ve got to make sure the majority speaks by voting no on the recall.”
But Shane Patrick Connolly, chair of Santa Clara County’s Republican Party, said the recall effort is supported by people across the political aisle, including Democrats and No Party Preference voters. The local GOP has declined to endorse a specific candidate, but supports the recall effort.
“If this were just a Republican effort, it wouldn’t succeed,” Connolly told San José Spotlight. “There’s at least a quarter of Democrats who are interested in voting yes on the recall.”
Connolly said he’s confident that California would continue safe COVID-19 practices under new leadership.
“People in California have been sensible. When given the information about how to protect themselves, they have availed themselves of it,” he said. “Here in Santa Clara county, we’re one of the most vaccinated counties in the nation . And that was without mandates.”
Contact Sonya Herrera at [email protected]il.com or follow @SMHsoftware on Twitter.