“I don’t see a scenario where we’re not talking about a victory for the governor and a complete rejection of this appalling partisan power grab,” said Newsom strategist Sean Clegg. “I think what we’re seeing in our projections in the early vote is we’re performing so well we might reach a point where there’s not enough Republican vote left on the table for them to overtake us. We’ll let you know when we reach that.”
Newsom, who was overwhelmingly elected governor in 2018 in California, is facing a recall sparked last year mainly over accusations that he mishandled his state’s response to the coronavirus.
Republicans see the recall election as their best chance to topple a politician who has never lost an election during his years as San Francisco mayor, California lieutenant governor, and now governor – and their first chance to win a statewide contest since the 2006 gubernatorial reelection victory by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
On Monday night, President Biden urged Californians to keep Newsom as their governor during a rally in Long Beach.
“The eyes of the nation are on California because the decision you’re going to make isn’t just going to have a huge impact on California, it’s going to reverberate around the nation, and quite frankly — not a joke — around the world,” Biden said.
The president also contended that a “Trump clone” could replace Newsom, which was an apparent reference to conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, the Republican frontrunner.
“All of you know that last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump,” Biden said. “Well, this year the leading Republican running for governor is a closest thing to a Trump clone that I’ve ever seen in your state.”
“You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you’ll get Donald Trump,” he added. “It’s not a joke. A Republican governor blocking progress on COVID-19 who is also anti-woman, anti-worker, a climate denier, who doesn’t believe in choice. The choice should be absolutely clear.”
The recall push was launched in June 2020 due to frustrations by many Californians over the governor’s restrictive response to the coronavirus. On Monday, Biden defended Newsom’s handling of the virus, arguing that voting no would protect California from “Trump Republicans trying to block us from beating this pandemic.”
“We don’t need politics in this battle against Covid,” he added. “We need science. We need courage. We need leadership. We need Gavin Newsom.”
The California recall election wraps up Tuesday. Nearly 8 million mail-in ballots — the form of voting most Californians use — already have been returned out of 22 million sent to registered voters, according to the Associated Press.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report