Select Page

Unpacking the GOV. Newsome victory

Unpacking the GOV. Newsome victory

Recalling California Governor Gavin Newsom may have been an impossible task from the onset.  It only takes 65 voters to launch a recall petition drive.  And getting 1.7 signatures from Republicans, disgruntled independents and even a few disaffected Democrats is far different than winning a majority of the 13 million people who cast ballots in the special recall referendum.

California has a peculiar recall system.  At the same time voters decide the fate of the Governor, they are asked to select among the list of alternative candidates to be the replacement.  There is no real opponent as you would find in a regular election.  There is only a perceived opponent based on polling.

It is almost impossible for a recall to succeed if the target is a Democrat governor in a very blue state.  Yes, it was done once before when Democrat Governor Gray Davis was removed from office and bodybuilder/actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was chosen to replace him.  But that was when the registration advantage for Democrats was narrower.  It was also a time when the partisan atmosphere was less acrid.

Some pundits say the size of the Newsom victory was impressive and significant.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Newsom’s margin of victory – 63 to 37 percent — was basically his margin in his previous election.  In fact, only four counties flipped – one Newsom county voted to recall and three counties he lost in the previous election voted to retain the Governor.  

In other words, there was no significant shift in sentiment that can provide a hint of future elections – especially for 2024.  No political crystal ball …  no tea leaves … no Tarot cards.  This was purely a California election – and if California is not in the Democrat column in 2024, the donkey party would be virtually wiped out across the nation.

Newsom’s only official opposition was the “yes” vote on recall.  His potential successor was chosen in an entirely different process.  Once a voter checked “yes” on the recall vote, they had a choice of more than 50 candidates from which to select a successor. Voters had to rely on polls to get a hint of who that might be.

The guy who emerged was radio commentator Larry Elders.  At times, he was winning the popularity contest with as little as a 15 percent plurality – although he won the final vote with approximately 46 percent.  That is important.  As I have noted many times in the past … when there is a large field of candidates, the winner may not be the most popular overall, but the person with the largest dedicated base.  That was seen in Trump’s success run in 2016.  He got the nomination by racking up winning pluralities even though most GOP primary voters preferred one of the other 16 candidates.

Elders’ lead in the polls may have helped Newsom.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like Elders, but there still is a pragmatic reality that needs to be considered.

Elders personified the Trump wing of the Republican Party.  That automatically makes him unacceptable to Democrats and the left – and some independents and Republicans.  The most likely successor to Newsom did not have the broad base of appeal that Schwarzenegger had. Elders’ staunch conservative principles were not as acceptable in a state that leans that far left – and so Democrat.

You could almost read some of those people’s minds. “I am inclined to boot Newsome … but … not for Elders.”  That may not have been the only influence – or even the dominant one – but he had to help Newsom to some measure.

These interim elections are rarely as telling as the pundits and the politicians too often claim.  If the one-off election flips the office from one party to another, maybe something can be drawn from that.  In the case of the California recall, the only thing that can be surmised is that the Democrat candidate was Governor before the recall vote – and is Governor after.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Linda Laas

    I don’t think recall vote was entirely fair, there were too many problems: ballots mailed out to everyone (even people that had moved out over 9 months ago), there is no validation on actual voters (just about anyone can vote, legal or not), there SHOULD be required ID to vote and we don’t need a 4+ days to vote in person. I am 69 and voting was always able to be accomplished without all this opportunity for corruption.

    • Donald Cook

      that is the way, Democrats STEAL Elections.

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        Might I remind you that Newsom was elected Governor by almost a 2-to-1 margin. It’s Republicans who are trying to steal the seat with the recall petition. As it was, they got extra time to file their petitions.

  2. FranKstetson

    So, why’d you all do this if that dog don’t hunt?

  3. Ben


    Fiscally conservative republicans were successful in wasting 300 million dollars that could have been spent on the greater good.

    I see a pattern here of republicans throwing temper tantrums every time they don’t get their way. I’m pretty excited for tomorrow,” 1-6 reduex.”

  4. Dan Tyree

    More cheating. I’ll bet that everyone in prison voted. And it would be interesting to know how many dead voters were resurrected

  5. frankstetson

    Yeah, the Dems got the dead people vote. We got the prison votes, the kid votes, we get Republicans to vote for us, we mail ballots to everyone, we even mail to people who have moved, that’s right, we track em down and give em a ballot, we give em almost five days to vote in person, we don’t validate, we give opportunities for corruption everywhere, all the time, we cheat, we steal, we win.

    Best part is you can’t catch us!!! We do all this stuff and you go to court, lose. Try again, lose. Try 50 more times, lose 50 more times. Look at all this stuff we do, and you can’t touch us. You take the machines, you spend weeks, then months, and you can’t catch us.

    And you can’t out cheat us. We got you cheat beat up and down the street. We do it, you screw it. We win, you spin. Yes, we cheat and you can’t freakin figure it out. You can’t beat us, out cheat us, catch us, or mess with us. We out play you, out cheat you, leave you in the dust.

    I agree, must be cheating everywhere. Even if you can’t prove it. Certainly you can’t figure out how we do it. But we keep winning, therefore we must be cheating.

    Unpack that victory.

    Hey, if I got $1 from every Trump protestor today, I still couldn’t pay for the ticket home :>) MAGA becomes maga.

  6. Joseph S. Bruder

    When I try to read the minds of California’s voters, I get an entirely different result: “Aw, hell no, we voted Newsom in as Governor for a reason. No way are we letting Trump-lite fuck up our state”.

    • Dan t

      It’s their funeral. The queerafornia commiecrats are the fuckups If that shithole is so great why are so many people leaving?

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        Who says they’re leaving? It’s the most populous state in the country. Maybe they’re just spilling out over the edges…

  7. frank stetson

    Well, actually, they are leaving, but at such a slow rate to make Dan’s comment flaccid at best. 50% of those leaving were due to covid deaths. Those not coming could be due to covid relocation issues as well. One data point does not make a trend, and some pretty trendy things going on across the nation.

    We’ve being playing that game in NJ for years where our property taxes makes it financially advantageous for the retired to move across state lines, our factories are closing or moving, and what we picked up post 9/11 is slowing too. But yet as our numbers slowing go down, people still come in, and it’s still hard to find housing inventory, go figure.

    Still, I would hazard the guess that California, like NJ, is a maturing economy, in a crowded, expensive, state, so things will be slowing down. Still, both States are in the top five for average median incomes so if you can move there, the salary opportunities are better too.

    I think the “many people are leaving” is BUSTED.

    No matter how you toss this, it’s a loss for the Republicans and an extreme waste of money for all except the consultants. Combine that with the BUSTED J6 un-rally, Trump’s major insanity meltdown against SDNY indictments, more of which are coming, according to defending Trump CFO lawyers, and it was a really bad week in MAGA land.

    “queerafornia commiecrats.” Wow, gotta give Dan credit on that one, more creative than usual although still nostalgic with that 50’s look n feel. This guy really needs to come out of the closet, let his freak flag fly, because he certainly is totally focused on his man love.

    • Dan Tyree

      Frank are you saying that I’m queer? Lol. That’s ok. If I were I would say so. Freak flag? What the hell is that? I’ll have to go on line and find me one

  8. frankstetson

    Keep that 50’s look and feel. I guess you are just not experienced….. No, I didn’t say you were gay, I didn’t say it’s wrong, I just suggested that, given your level of interest, that “This guy really needs to come out of the closet, let his freak flag fly, because he certainly is totally focused on his man love.” I just think you need to be yourself, and based on your interest, perhaps coming out of the closet might help you focus on other things, like the year 2021.

    “Now if 6 turned out to be 9,
    I don’t mind, I don’t mind,
    Alright, if all the hippies cut off all their hair,
    I don’t care, I don’t care.
    Dig, ‘cos I got my own world to live through
    And I ain’t gonna copy you.

    White collared conservative flashing down the street,
    Pointing their plastic finger at me.
    They’re hoping soon my kind will drop and die,
    But I’m gonna wave my freak flag high, high.
    Wave on, wave on
    Fall mountains, just don’t fall on me
    Go ahead on Mr. Business man, you can’t dress like me.
    Sing on Brother, play on drummer.
    (jimi hendrix – 1967)