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Is California About to Get a Conservative Governor?

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Flag of California

California voters have been mailed ballots asking them if Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom should be removed from office and to select his replacement. 

And the front runner to replace the governor? Conservative Republican and radio talk show host Larry Elder, who leads a crowded field of 46 challengers and has the backing of many California evangelicals. 

Newsom supporters are portraying the recall as a far-right takeover attempt. 

In a television commercial funded by the California Democratic Party, an announcer asks, "Who's behind the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom? Anti-vaccine, QAnon extremists, violent white supremacists, like the Proud Boys who attacked the nation's Capitol on January 6th."

Newsom has warned that Elder is "...to the right of Donald Trump, to the right of Donald Trump. That's what's at stake of this election. and don't think for a second you can't do damage in that role." 

Elder is pro-life, against more gun restrictions, says the minimum wage should be zero, and has vowed to repeal all statewide COVID mandates.

"At the state level I'm not going to require any public worker to wear a mask or have a vaccine," Elder said. "I think that's an assault on our freedom."

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Elder also accused Newsom of wrecking a once-great state. 

"The rising crime, the rising homelessness, the rising cost of living, the outrageous way this man ignored science, shut down this state while having his own kids enjoy in-person private education," Elder told Fox News.

Most polls show Newsom is leading, but experts warn that Californians who want Newsom removed could be more motivated to vote than those who want Newsom to stay.

Democrats now face the possibility of losing another high-profile governorship after the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

But there could be even more at stake. There are reports that 88-year-old U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is struggling with cognitive decline and could announce her retirement. 

The governor of California would choose Feinstein's replacement.

The winner of the recall will remain in office at least until Newsom's current term ends in January 2023.

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