Top Republican Candidate Concedes In California Recall Election

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Newsom's main opponent was Larry Elder, 69, a right-wing talk radio star who has spoken proudly of his support for ex-president Donald Trump
Newsom's main opponent was Larry Elder, 69, a right-wing talk radio star who has spoken proudly of his support for ex-president Donald Trump

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder conceded the California recall election to Gov. Gavin Newsom late Tuesday after the Democrat won 63.9% of the vote against the recall.

Before Tuesday's election, Elder would not say whether he could accept the results, while a campaign-affiliated website asked visitors to "sign a petition to stop the fraud of the California recall election" and former President Donald Trump released a statement Tuesday that called the election "totally rigged."

Elder was the leading candidate in a wide field of 46 others seeking to replace Newsom. He received 46.9% of the vote for those who voted "yes" to the recall. Democrat Kevin Paffrath received 9.8%, while Republican Kevin Faulconer received 8.6%.

Elder told his supporters Tuesday night “we have lost the battle, but we’re going to win the war.” The Republican told the crowd to “stay tuned,” hinting at another run against Newsom, who is expected to seek a second term in 2022.

Elder told his supporters they should be “gracious in defeat.”

He has been no stranger to controversy as he opposes the minimum wage, gun control laws, and has called climate change “a crock.”

Elder, who is Black, has also suggested fatherless families drive up crime in Black communities and that Black leaders exaggerate discrimination. He has blamed the death of George Floyd on former President Obama, writing he should have encouraged citizens to “comply with police” to avoid being shot. Elder has also argued the racial divisions are “overblown” and that systemic racism doesn’t exist.

He spent much of Tuesday's speech criticizing Newsom’s handling of the state’s rising crimes rates, homeless crisis, and rising housing costs. Elder has been critical of Newsom’s handling of the pandemic as his biggest campaign promise was to rescind the vaccine and mask mandates Newsom had implemented. 

“This is what we’re facing: rising crime, declining quality of our public schools,” he said. “Rolling brownouts. Water shortages. ... I can’t think of anything that this man has done in the last two years that suggests he deserves another day in office.” Elder added.

Elder believes his campaign will force the Democrats to change direction. “We are forcing them now to pay attention to the problem of homelessness. We are forcing them now to do a better job on schools,” Elder told the Associated Press

Newsom has criticized Elder’s anti-science stances saying his views do not line up with the majority of Californians. Newsom had also said Elder would restrict abortion rights and end the minimum wage.

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