Voters in California overwhelmingly rejected an effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the early days of the pandemic, Newsom was the first governor in the nation to implement a state-wide stay-at-home order. The recall effort picked up steam when Newsom defied his own mandates and attended a birthday party for a friend at a restaurant in Napa Valley. Eventually, conservative groups managed to gather the 1.5 million signatures needed to force a recall election.
While Newsom's handling of the pandemic was central to the effort to recall him, many voters approved his job dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. According to exit polls by NBC News, 45 percent of voters said that Newsom's COVID policies are correct, while 32 percent said they are too strict, and 17 percent said his policies aren't tough enough. When asked if they supported mandates requiring students to wear masks, 69 percent said they did.
If voters had voted in favor of recalling Newsom, they would have 46 other candidates to choose from, including conservative radio show host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Caitlyn Jenner, and John Cox, who lost decisively to Newsom in 2018.
The last time there was a recall election was in 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to replace Gray Davis months after he was reelected.