Republicans in California are likely to face a stiff defeat on Tuesday, as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom appears on track to reject an impeachment effort after Republicans failed to rally around an eligible candidate.
The campaign to oust Newsom began in earnest after the governor was caught at a restaurant with an unmasked lobbyist friend and also ordered restrictions in the early days of the covid 19 pandemic. But conservative talk show host Larry Elder appeared in front of a packed pack, which some say eliminated any chance of Republicans defeating Newsom.
“Part of the challenge for Republicans for decades right now is that none of them have a platform to build identification and name recognition across the state,” said Jason Roe, a Republican consultant who previously worked for the former Republican mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer.
Faulconer is one of many candidates running, but he has struggled to gain traction as has Mr. Elder.
Roe said one of the main difficulties for Republicans in the state is that there simply aren’t that many, making it difficult to build broad name recognition and enough war chest to run for state office in California.
“For Kevin, it’s an uphill job. Larry Elder has decades of conservative credentials in radio shows, Republican activists know who he is, they know him, at least they know the name, “Roe said. “He’s a conservative fanatic, so with the Republican base, he’s a well-known guy and it doesn’t take him long to make the sale.”
But Elder’s appeal among conservatives has often been limited outside of the party’s loyalists.
“He’s a guy who has a loyal following based on his years as a radio person,” said Andrew Acosta, a Democratic consultant in California. “In the old days, one or two of these blows would have knocked him out.”
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Similarly, Acosta said it is not clear that Faulconer increased the money levels Elder made and noted how devoted his supporters were.
“He’s a guy who has a loyal following based on his years as a radio person and it’s been hard to get people out of him,” Acosta said.
Garry South, a Democratic political consultant who worked for former Gov. Gray Davis, noted that Republicans today make up a smaller segment of the readership than when Arnold Schwarzenegger beat Davis in his own impeachment election, which made the Republican effort It was a tough climb from the start. .
“Republicans can be so excited that they all get hypertension,” South said, adding that no amount of Republican enthusiasm could overcome the fact that Republicans make up only a quarter of the electorate.
South added that the California Republican Party made a strategic mistake by not endorsing Faulconer.
“They would have been better at biting the bullet, backing Faulconer, putting some money behind him,” he said. “They were basically cowering.”
But Mike Madrid, who previously worked on Latino outreach for California Republicans and co-founded the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, said the state’s circumstances are also very different from the era of Schwarzenegger’s victory.
“But even then, Schwarzenegger was getting the majority of the Latino vote,” he said, adding that Davis’ approval ratings were in the 1920s when Schwarzenegger hit Davis due to ongoing blackouts due to an energy crisis, a car tax. unpopular and a budget deficit. Comparatively, Newsom has a budget surplus.
“Gavin Newsom has never been anywhere near that range of support levels,” Madrid said, adding that he did not believe the Republican Party was more about messages than making a serious offer.
“He’s in the business of righteous outrage,” he said. “He’s just trying to find a spokesperson for his anger.”
Madrid pointed to Republicans selling ideas about electoral fraud, which former President Donald Trump repeated on Monday.
“They can’t believe that they really lost because they are so busy consuming their own nonsense and channeling themselves that they are no longer trying to speak beyond their base,” he said.
On Monday, the day before the recall, as if to reinforce the point, Trump issued a statement in which he denounced that the California elections were rigged.
“Does anyone really believe that the California recall elections are not rigged,” Trump said. “Millions and millions of mail-in ballots will make this another giant electoral scam, no different, but less blatant, than the 2020 presidential election scam.”