September 15, 2021 by archyde
Victory for the Democratic camp of Joe Biden: the voters of California have decided to keep their governor in office, voting overwhelmingly “no” in the referendum organized by his detractors to obtain his dismissal, according to the first estimates released Tuesday evening by the American media .
• Read also: Let’s talk about Gavin Newsom
• Read also: In California, the strange referendum that could cost Democrats dearly
Less than an hour after the polls closed (8:00 p.m. local time, 3:00 a.m. GMT Wednesday), the “no” got about two-thirds of the votes after counting more than 60% of the ballots already counted, according to CNN and NBC.
With such a lead, both channels believe Democrat Gavin Newsom will remain governor of the most populous state in the United States and complete his term, even if the Republican ballots rebalance the score in the hours or days to come.
Some 9 million voters had voted early, which made it possible to obtain rapid first projections.
The outcome of the poll is a victory for Governor Gavin Newsom, weakened by the Covid crisis and the health measures decreed to stem the pandemic, but also for the entire Democratic camp.
Proof of the national stake of this referendum in a state equivalent to the fifth economic power in the world, President Joe Biden went to California on Monday to support Mr. Newsom and put all the chances on his side to win this first electoral test since being elected to the White House last year.
This vote “says Yes to what is dear to us Californians, ”said Gavin Newsom upon the announcement of these first results. “As a state, we have said yes to science, yes to vaccines, yes to the end of the pandemic (…) yes to the right to vote without fear of false accusations of fraud,” said the governor.
Like Donald Trump, most of the Republican candidates who hoped to take the governor’s place had started to contest the ballot and cry out for electoral fraud even before the end of voting operations, a strategy that has now become commonplace in the conservative camp.
A favorite in the event of a “yes” victory, ultra-conservative radio host Larry Elder has so far refused to say whether he would accept the election results. He launched a website inviting his supporters to denounce any irregularities they witness in order to preserve the “integrity” of the vote.
Gathered in Orange County for what was billed as a “victory head”, supporters of Larry Elder denied the results ginned Tuesday night by televisions. “We don’t believe those polls, do we?” Said Kelly Ernby to a crowd dotted with red “Make America Great Again” hats of Donald Trump fans.
Larry Elder, “it is the clone of Donald Trump”, had launched the day before President Joe Biden during his trip near Los Angeles.
$ 280 million
Using a provision of the Californian Constitution, disgruntled citizens – very quickly rallied by the Republican Party – obtained this “recall ballot” allowing to dismiss a governor outside any electoral calendar, after having collected more than 1.5 million votes. signatures.
Echoing the deep divide that divides the United States, Californians supporters of the referendum denounce excessive taxes, a democratic “elite” perceived as contemptuous and individual freedoms flouted by the authorities since the start of the pandemic.
Opponents saw it as a maneuver to take control of a fiercely democratic state, out of reach for the conservatives in a classic election.
Voters had a choice of 46 candidates, overwhelmingly Republican, including 69-year-old African American Larry Elder, 69-year-old African American, transgender icon Caitlyn Jenner, famous for being a member of the Kardashian clan, and a multitude of other more or less eccentric candidates.
“We have to get rid of our governor because I think he is a corrupt Democrat, like the people we have in the federal government (…) We need someone who really represents the people”, launched Farid Efraim, who voted for Mr. Elder.
“This referendum is ridiculous,” retorts Jake, 38, questioned by AFP at the exit of another polling station. I calculated that even if each of the voters actually voted, it will cost more than twelve dollars per ballot … ”, he notes.
The cost of the referendum is estimated at nearly $ 280 million by the authorities.
18 years ago, a similar vote allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger to conquer California by bringing down the then Democratic governor.
The referendum on the governor’s dismissal in figures
Californian voters have decided: they overwhelmingly voted “no” in the referendum organized Tuesday by critics of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom to obtain his dismissal.
Here are some key figures on this election.
- 66,7: The percentage of voters who rejected Mr Newsom’s dismissal request, according to estimates given by the US media after the polls closed. By this point, 8.3 million ballots had been counted, about 64% of the total.
- 1911 : This is the year that California adopted this procedure which allows dissatisfied people to organize a “recall ballot” of a governor or other elected official if they collect the required number of signatures.
- 55 : The number of times a petition requesting the recall of a governor has been launched since then.
- 2 : The number of times this procedure has actually resulted in a referendum. The only successful precedent came in 2003, against Democrat Gray Davis. And it is the “Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger who took his place on this occasion.
- 46 : The number of candidates who were in the running to replace Gavin Newsom. 24 of them are declared Republicans, nine are Democrats, ten unregistered, two members of the Greens and one is Libertarian.
- 8 : The number of candidates with the first name Kevin or David, i.e. more than 17% of the total.
- 22 millions : The number of voters registered for this referendum. California has a population of 40 million people, making it the most populous state in the United States.
- 7,7 millions : The number of votes collected by Gavin Newsom when he was elected in 2008. His Republican opponent, again in contention this time around, had won 4.4 million votes.
- 1,5 million : The number of signatures required to trigger the organization of the recall referendum.
- 350 : The price, in dollars per guest, of the basic menu offered by The French Laundry, a three Michelin star restaurant near San Francisco where Mr. Newsom was seen dining with friends, indoors and without a mask, in full containment linked to the pandemic. Photos of the scene caused a scandal and probably spiked the number of discontented who signed the petition hostile to the governor.
- 280 millions : The approximate cost, in dollars, of this consultation. Some 69% of voters who planned to go to the polls on Tuesday felt it was a waste of public money.