Reflections on My Failed Campaign to Become California Governor

Reflections on My Failed Campaign to Become California Governor


By Larry Elder for The Daily Signal

I want to thank the distributor of my articles, Creators Syndicate, for giving me eight weeks off from writing my weekly column so that I could campaign to recall and replace the governor of California. I also want to thank my readers for their patience and willingness to let me pursue that adventure.

The recall required 50% plus one of the recall votes to be cast. Replacement only requires the replacement candidate to receive more votes than any other candidate. At the moment, the votes are still being counted, but the attempt to recall Prime Minister Gavin Newsom has failed.

The ballot to recall the governor had two questions. Question one, do you want to recall the governor?

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Question two, who do you want to replace him? For question no. 2 it was more than 40 names. I finished first by far with over 47% of the replacement votes. My closest competitor got 10%.

I came late into the race and campaigned for almost eight weeks. A Republican rival, a two-term San Diego mayor, campaigned for an entire year and got less than 9%. It seems I’ve raised more money than my Republican rivals combined – with the exception of one multimillionaire who self-funded pretty much everything.

As expected, the left-wing media was ruthless. A Los Angeles Times columnist called me “the black face of white supremacy.” Only in America can a black become president or a white supremacist.

Had Newsom been recalled, this would have been the second time Californians voted to recall their governor. But the electoral landscape, the first time this happened in 2003, is very different from today.

Between 2003 and 2021, there are 5% more registered Democrats, 50% more registered independents – who mostly vote for Democrats – and a whopping 33% fewer Republicans. To call an attempt to recall a Democratic governor an uphill battle is a massive understatement.

In 2003, California Governor Gray Davis faced a recall. The registration of the political party of the state voters was:

  • Dems: 44%
  • GOP: 35%
  • Independent / Refusal to Mention: 16%

In 2021, when Newsom faced a recall, the registration was:

  • Dems: 46.5%
  • GOP: 24%
  • Independent / Refusal to Mention: 23%

Arnold Schwarzenegger received 48.6% of the vote in 2003. In 2021 I got 47% of the votes (the votes are still being counted).

So why bother?

Newsom’s record as governor since 2019 is nothing short of bleak. During the first eight months of the coronavirus pandemic, Newsom oversaw the early release of 18,000 convicted felons. Crime has risen dramatically.

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In 2020, the homicide rate in Los Angeles increased 40% from 2019. The increases were similar in San Francisco (17%), Oakland (36%) and San Diego (10%).

Homelessness has also risen dramatically. When Newsom ran for mayor of San Francisco in 2004, he promised to end the homelessness problem in that city within 10 years. Have you been to San Francisco lately?

The quality of public education in California is appalling. Despite spending an estimated $20,000 per student per year, according to the California Policy Center, California public school student test scores are near the bottom of all 50 states.

Newsom, in charge of the powerful California Teachers Association, denied public school students an entire year of schooling. Meanwhile, his own children enjoyed personal learning in their private school.

Before the pandemic, 67% of public school students in the fourth grade could not read at the level of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The math scores are even worse.

Black and Hispanic parents in urban areas want school choice – the right to use the tuition money to send their student to charter school, private school or religious school, or to use the money for homeschooling – but Newsom and the teachers’ unions are against real school choice.

California is experiencing a water shortage and is experiencing “rolling brownouts” from not investing properly in our energy grid, and our fires are getting worse, in part because of Newsom’s poor forest management.

So why did the recall fail? More on this next week.

This article has been corrected to reflect how many years Gavin Newsom served as California governor.

Syndicated with permission from The Daily Signal.





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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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