Voters from solid red inland California say they are devastated by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s victorious recall election, which was seen as a last chance at freedom that has been plucked away.
“I’m heartsick. I feel like this was the last off-ramp on the road to ruin, and we just missed it,” said Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes Yosemite National Park. “I used to think that when things got bad enough, Californians would still make it right. This has been a wake-up call to all of us. It should’ve been overwhelmingly in favor of a recall, given the amount of damage Newsom has done to the state.”
Mail-in ballots are still being counted, but as of Friday, 64% of the voters wanted to keep Newsom in his job. The number has shrunk slightly since polls closed on Tuesday as Republicans tend to vote late. Approximately 3 million ballots are outstanding, and the secretary of state is allowed another 35 days to process the total.
Newsom ran on an anti-Trump platform, warning voters that they would be electing a clone if front-runner Larry Elder succeeded. But Newsom omitted talking about his record, something recall organizers seized upon. The state has been among the worst on issues such as the COVID-19 crisis, homelessness, crime, infrastructure, and the economy.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigns against the California recall election at Culver City High School in Culver City, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Newsom warned that Trump was defeated in 2020 but "we did not defeat Trumpism." With just nine days remaining in the contest, "Racial justice is on the ballot. Economic justice in on the ballot. Social justice in on the ballot. Environmental justice is on the ballot," the governor said to hundreds of sign-waving supporters, who responded by chanting "Vote no" on the recall. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Despite this, dense coastal areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco pushed Newsom over the finish line with up to an 86% approval rate.
“How are we going to get this state so we can afford to live in it?” a resident named Steve asked during a McClintock telephone town hall Thursday night. “People are leaving in huge numbers because they can’t afford to be here anymore. My grandparents moved out here in 1930 and ran a gold mine, and I haven’t moved more than 8 miles from there.
“It’s ridiculous what it costs for everything — to license cars, pay your taxes, buy stuff. Everything is so high-priced, and wages aren’t keeping up. We get taxed, and I feel like my voice doesn’t matter."
Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa, whose district borders Nevada and Oregon, said any perceived rivalry between California’s north and south is a myth.
“It’s really between the east and the west — the rural areas vs. the coast,” he said. “Gavin Newsom has done nothing to help rural California, and his agents have even come to take away our water so we can’t fight forest fires.”
ICE said that because of the devastation the fires are bringing to California, the agency will "suspend routine immigration enforcement operations in the areas affected" at places such as shelters and evacuation sites. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LaMalfa’s district has included some of the most devastating wildfires in state history, events he blames on Newsom for not clearing the forests of dead, diseased, and overcrowded trees. In addition, Newsom is closing a prison camp that trains inmates to be firefighters.
“Newsom is hell-bent on continuing to crush us up here with his mandates, and who knows what he plans on doing next,” LaMalfa said. “Gavin rides again, and Gavin has wind in his sails, and his arrogance will be stronger than ever.”
Distraught constituents have been calling LaMalfa’s office, saying the recall was their last gasp to stay in California and keep their homes and businesses. Now they will be leaving.
“Each election is the starting gun for the next wave of people leaving California,” LaMalfa said. “They are going to Nevada, Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee. Anywhere but here.”
Still, there are people who want to stay and fight, given that California’s largest grassroots effort was built to unseat Newsom. More than 100,000 people collected signatures, worked phone banks, and walked precincts.
Voters walk to a precinct place at the Sierra 2 Center for the Arts and Community to cast their ballots Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Voters are casting ballots in California's primary election, setting the stage for November races. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
“It's no secret that the California Republican Party infrastructure has been in shambles for more than a decade — but we succeeded in putting together a brand new grassroots structure to do the work they’ve not shown the willingness to do,” said Carl DeMaio, founder of the Reform California PAC. “Going forward, we have an entire army and infrastructure ready to fight in 2022 to flip seats.”
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, who settled a lawsuit against California to clean up dirty voter rolls, said all is not lost. He recalled how Republican Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 presidential election by a landslide, and that ushered in the Ronald Reagan dynasty in California.
“If you care about our constitutional republic, you should stay and do what you can do,” he said. “A committed opposition can have a dramatic impact, even in a state like California.”
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Original Author: Tori Richards
Original Location: Newsom victory squashes rural California, which prayed for regime change