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Recall Effort Fails, California Gov. Gavin Newsom Remains In Office

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom from office has failed decisively.

Recall Effort Fails, California Gov. Gavin Newsom Remains In Office
The latest numbers in the recall election of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Sept. 15, 2021. (CBSLA)

With 100% of precincts reporting as of early Wednesday morning, 63.9% of voters, or 5.84 million Californians, had voted against the recall, and 36.1%, or 3.29 million, had voted in favor of it, according to the latest numbers released by the California Secretary of State's Office.

The race was quickly called by CBS News within an hour of polls closing at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Newsom is the second governor in California history to face a recall election.

Dr. Mindy Romero at USC's Center for Inclusive Democracy said Wednesday it is important the Governor works to address the anger that led to the special election.

"Just because many voters voted against the recall doesn't necessarily mean they're enthusiastic about the governor," said Dr. Romero.

Republican strategist Rob Stutzman said Newsom has been getting bipartisan support for masking and vaccine mandates.

"You now have a majority of voters, Democrats, and Republicans, that are vaccinated," said Stutzman. "And if you're vaccinated, that drives your opinion on what you think of vaccination mandates and mask mandates and you're growing increasingly annoyed at unvaccinated people."

Voters were asked two questions on their recall ballots. The first was whether Gov. Newsom should be recalled, and the second is who should succeed him in the event he is. He needed 50% or more voters to respond "no" to the first question to remain in office. With Newsom convincingly passing that mark, the second question was quickly deemed irrelevant.

Recall Effort Fails, California Gov. Gavin Newsom Remains In Office
California Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses supporters after defeating the recall effort. Sept. 14, 2021. (CBSLA)

Had things gone differently on question No. 1, Republican talk-show host Larry Elder would have claimed the governor's office. For question No. 2, Elder drew 46.9% of the vote in the field of 46 replacement candidates, with Democrat Kevin Paffrath a distant second at 9.8% and Republican former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer in third with 8.6%.

"I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state," Newsom told supporters in Sacramento after his win. "We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to people's right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression. We said yes to women's fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body, her fate and her future."

Elder was not so quick to concede, but he finally took the stage at his campaign-night party in Costa Mesa at 10 p.m. and admitted defeat.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Elder Holds Election Night Watch Party
Larry Elder, Republican gubernatorial candidate for California, speaks at a campaign watch party after losing the gubernatorial recall election in Costa Mesa, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. California Governor Gavin Newsom beat back a recall effort, with voters resoundingly deciding to keep the first-term Democrat in office after a historic special election. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"Let's be gracious in defeat," Elder told the crowd. "We may have lost the battle but we are going to win the war."

RELATED: San Diego Challengers Kevin Faulconer And John Cox Give Concession Speeches

Total voter turnout was 9.17 million statewide, or 41.6% of the state's total of more than 22 million registered voters. The "no" votes totaled over 5.84 million, the yes votes over 3.29 million.

In Los Angeles County, 70.8% of the voters said "no" to the recall, 2.26 million in all. Turnout was 39.77% of the county's more than 5.6 million registered voters.

In Orange County, the "no" votes totaled 52.59%, or 464,164 votes. The "yes" votes totaled 418,362. Turnout was 49% of the county's more than 1.8 million votes.

With the victory, Newsom avoided the fate of former California Gov. Gray Davis, who was removed from office by recall in 2003. He was replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

President Joe Biden, who campaigned with Newsom in Long Beach on Monday, released the following statement in response to Newsom's win:

"Congratulations to Governor Gavin Newsom on defeating the recall vote. This vote is a resounding win for the approach that he and I share to beating the pandemic: strong vaccine requirements, strong steps to reopen schools safely, and strong plans to distribute real medicines—not fake treatments—to help those who get sick. The fact that voters in both traditionally Democratic and traditionally Republican parts of the state rejected the recall shows that Americans are unifying behind taking these steps to get the pandemic behind us."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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