SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom voted to keep himself in office Friday, days before the recall election against him comes to a close.
The Democratic governor cast his ballot at an early voting center in Sacramento alongside his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and took a glimpse of her vote.
“I think we’re gonna be alright,” he joked.
The last day to vote is Tuesday, and at least a third of California’s 22 million registered voters have already cast ballots. The election will determine whether Newsom can complete his first term or will be tossed out of office more than a year early. The effort originated among amateur Republican political organizers upset with Newsom’s policies on immigration, crime and taxes, but gained steam amid the pandemic as Newsom ordered restrictions on businesses and mandated masks.
Voters will be asked two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and, if so, who should replace him? He needs support from a majority of Californians to win. Otherwise, whoever wins the most votes among 46 replacement options will become governor. It would very likely be a Republican.
Speaking to reporters after voting, Newsom expressed confidence but said he’s taking nothing for granted in the final days.
“I’m just focused on doing the job, encouraging folks to turn out and to get our base out at this critical juncture,” he said.
Larry Elder, the leading Republican in the replacement field, said this week his campaign has an “integrity board,” with lawyers ready to look into questions about possible fraud or other irregularities. People can contact his campaign through his website.
“I believe that there might very well be shenanigans, as there were in the 2020 election,” he said, referring to former President Donald Trump’s unsupported claims of fraud in his loss to Joe Biden.
Newsom criticized those claims, saying “we’re four days out, the election hasn’t even happened and now they’re all feigning election fraud. And I think it’s important to highlight that.”
Asked if he would accept the results of the election if he loses, Newsom said he planned to win but would respect the will of the voters.
Associated Press writer Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles contributed.
Catch up with all of AP’s recall election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/california-recall