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Democrats Ramp Up Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts in Closing Hours of Recall Election

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- Tuesday is Election Day and a new UC Berkeley poll shows 60 percent of likely voters oppose recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom. On Sunday, Bay Area Democrats and others working to defeat the recall were rallying to get out the vote.

Anger over mask mandates, closed schools and businesses and a dinner at the French Laundry helped put Gov. Newsom in danger of being recalled. Sunday morning, those opposing the recall met in Hayward for a get-out-the-vote rally, focusing on African-American and Latino neighborhoods.

"Everyone's got an absentee ballot vote so we just need to make sure they turn it in," said Mark Williams, Hayward's "Vote No" campaign field organizer. "It's a turnout game so we have make sure the voters are turning out."

In this particular turnout game Democrats are the majority but, all along, recall supporters have seemed to be more motivated.

"The enthusiasm for yes on the recall is very high," said California Republican Committee member Harmeet Dhillon, "I think it isn't just building, it's been very high snd I think that it hasn't gotten any better for the governor during the course of this recall."

But polls now show the recall effort losing by 22 percent. Still, Democrats and union leaders are concerned about complacency and they gathered at SEIU headquarters in San Jose, dispatching workers door-to-door to get out the vote. The fact that AFL/CIO president Liz Shuler was in attendance, was an indication of how closely this recall is being watched across the nation.

"The progressive gains that have been made in California are at stake," said Shuler. "If this recall were to go in the other direction we see that as a tipping point -- that positive gains throughout the country would be at risk."

Almost forgotten in the battle is who would replace Newsom. The leading contender, conservative radio host Larry Elder, currently polls at 38 percent of those voters supporting the recall.

"I think the concern is: what type of leader do we need in Sacramento and is that leader going to represent the majority of voters and constituents in California? And the candidates running for governor don't represent any of those shared values," said Jean Cohen, executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council.

So far, Republican leaders like Dhillon have been reluctant to even discuss who would be a worthy replacement. They just want Newsom out.

"This is a recall that is a referendum on Gavin Newsom," Dhillon said. "To me it's irrelevant how many candidates there are who are running to replace him."

The fear of that unknown has become a motivating factor for those opposing the recall.

A poll by UC Berkeley's Institute on Governmental Studies shows the recall is, in fact, shaping up as a partisan issue, with 92 percent of likely Republican voters supporting it and 90 percent of Democrats opposing it.

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