Fate of California Gov. Gavin Newsom hangs on recall vote
She said squabbles over Newsom's handling of the pandemic have split her family and friends and may prompt her to move out of state.
“I can’t live here like this if they’re going to force everyone to get a vaccine," Webb said.
California voters have just two questions on Tuesday’s ballot: Should Newsom stay in office? And if not, who should replace him? There are 46 replacement candidates to choose from.
If a majority of voters approve Newsom’s removal, the candidate who gets the most votes on the second question becomes governor. If voters keep Newsom, the results on the second question are irrelevant.
Briana Mendoza, 30, said the last thing California needs is more turmoil. She voted to keep Newsom.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Why would we recall the governor who has been really trying to curb the spread of the virus?” the San Diego social worker said.
Mendoza does not believe Newsom brought the recall upon himself by attending a birthday party at an upscale Napa Valley restaurant last fall in violation of his own administration’s coronavirus rules. Instead, she thinks the effort to unseat him is a backlash by a small minority of Republicans in a firmly Democratic state.
“We don’t want Elder in office,” she said. "This is ridiculous. We just got Trump out. We don’t want a Trump puppet.”
Beyond Elder, other prominent Republicans in the race include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and businessman John Cox. The best-known Democrat is Kevin Paffrath, a financial adviser with a large YouTube following.
How California votes could determine how aggressively Democrats campaign on COVID-19 restrictions that many Republicans have decried as unnecessary and overly burdensome.
Newsom’s ouster would be a stunning rebuke in California, where the Democratic Party controls every statewide office and dominates the Legislature and the congressional delegation.
His advisers expressed increasing confidence that the governor would survive the effort to drive him out more than a year before the end of his first term. The campaign had 25,000 volunteers on the streets over the weekend and has sent 31 million text messages to voters.
Republicans have criticized him relentlessly for high taxes and housing prices that are out of reach for many in the working class.
In recent days, Elder suggested the results of the recall election could be skewed by unspecified “shenanigans,” echoing Trump’s baseless claims of voting fraud in his 2020 race with Biden.
There has been no confirmed evidence of widespread fraud. Elder's campaign website has linked to a “Stop CA Fraud" site where people can sign a petition demanding a special legislative session to investigate the “twisted results,” well before any results were announced.
Newsom said he would accept the election results and urged Elder and others to do the same. “As an American, I’m ashamed. I’m disgusted by it. Stop. Grow up. These people literally are vandalizing our democracy and trust in our institutions," he said.
Asked to provide evidence of any suspicious voting activity, Elder spokeswoman Ying Ma said the campaign wants “every proper vote to be counted” and “whatever shenanigans there are will not stand in the way of him becoming the next governor.”