Proponents of keeping California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in office shelled out big bucks last month to fight the recall drive to remove him and are currently airing a television spot that distorts the positions of his GOP rivals.
The Los Angeles Times reported, “Gov. Gavin Newsom and his allies boosted the Democrat’s chances of beating the recall attempt by significantly outspending his opponents in August, putting more than $36 million into efforts that included TV advertising and social media, phone-banking, door-knocking and texting.” According to the Times, “The five top Republicans running to replace Newsom and pro-recall committees combined spent less than a third as much over the same period, according to campaign finance disclosures filed Thursday with the secretary of state’s office.”
The special recall election is set for September 14, one week away, but ballots have already been sent to all of California’s 22 million registered voters, and some polling places are open for early, in-person voting.
Newsom’s anti-recall committee, called “Stop the Republican Recall,” has no donation limits under state rules. The group reportedly “has 900 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers – largely through their allies in labor.” The Times reports that “anti-recall forces” supporting Newsom have raised at least $72.4 million, “more than double that of candidates and political committees backing the recall.”
However, contributions to the individual candidates running to replace the governor are capped at $32,400 per donor.
Funds from Newsom’s committee have been used to produce a television spot currently inundating California airwaves that inaccurately suggests Newsom’s top GOP rivals are “anti-vax.”
“Here’s what you need to know about the September 14th recall,” the ad says. “Voting yes elects an anti-vaccine Trump Republican.”
According to The Associated Press, Newsom “is taking liberties with broad-brush strokes that distort his opponents’ positions.”
.@larryelder says the idea that he is opposed to vaccines is a "flat-out lie."
Newsom's team has been running ads this week saying a "yes" vote on the recall could elect an "anti-vax" governor.
— Lara Korte (@lara_korte) September 1, 2021
The AP notes, Republican candidates Larry Elder, Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Kiley, and John Cox all say they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 but are against government orders forcing people to get the shots. GOP contender Caitlyn Jenner has encouraged people to get vaccinated after consulting with their doctor, opposes mandatory vaccinations, and has also been immunized against the virus, the former Olympian said.
Elder, the Republican frontrunner, had made his position clear on the issue several times before the ad began to air. Still, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has falsely singled him out on social media as “anti-vax,” spreading misinformation to her millions of followers.
The Times reported, “But for now, at least, Newsom’s massive spending appears to have paid off,” adding:
In late July, the polling was near even. But an average of surveys in August show those opposed to recalling Newsom with a lead of more than eight points, according to Real Clear Politics and 538, two poll aggregators. A poll released Thursday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California had Newsom with a 19-point lead …
Our California recall money tracker has updated again. https://t.co/vsRVJqqI1d
Latest tallies show @larryelder has surpassed John Cox's self-funded campaign, another sign of Elder's sudden rise.
— Ben Welsh (@palewire) September 7, 2021
The recall election ballot asks California voters two questions. First, voters will decide whether Newsom should be recalled. Then, the second question asks who should replace Newsom if he is recalled. If more than 50% choose to recall Newsom on question one, then the top vote-getter on the second question would become the new governor.