LOS ANGELES - "I’m giving it a lot of thought."
Days after Californians went to the polls and voted to keep Governor Gavin Newsom in office, his top challenger, Larry Elder is speaking out about the recall campaign, and his future in California politics, including another potential run for Governor in 2022.
In an appearance on "The Issue Is," the broadcaster told FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson that, before making a decision, he needs to decompress after a hard-fought campaign, and weigh his options - especially in a state where the chances of a Republican winning statewide appear to be shrinking fast.
"The math is daunting," Elder said. "Is there anything that any Republican, real Republican, by that I’m talking about somebody that believes in tax cuts, somebody who believes in school choice, somebody who believes in lower regulations, somebody who believes in things I believe - could any real Republican win California given the electoral map, I’m not sure."
With 83% of votes counted as of this writing, Governor Newsom survived the recall with some 63.4% of voters rejecting his ouster - 36.6% voting to remove him. Those figures represent a wider margin than Newsom won by in his first regular election in 2018.
With Newsom surviving, the results of the second question on the ballot, that of his replacement, were ultimately irrelevant, but still, Elder was the clear favorite among those who voted, securing some 47% of the vote, nearly 40% above his closest rival, Democrat Kevin Paffrath.
Those results do not include the 45% of California voters who opted out of the ballot’s second question, instead listening to Governor Newsom to vote "No" on the recall and leave the replacement question blank.
In the lead-up to the election, Elder warned about potential voter fraud, asking voters to report any suspicious incidents to his campaign. Now, with the election behind him, votes still being counted, and his political options open, Michaelson asked Elder if he and his campaign witnessed any voter fraud, or had plans to file any election-related lawsuits.
"No," Elder responded.
"What I did, was ask anybody, voters, whether they were Republican, Independents, or Democrats, ‘if you see anything, or hear anything suspicious, let us know,’ and people did contact us," Elder continued, adding that many did contact his campaign, but all were ultimately able to vote.
In a wide-ranging interview, Elder also discussed the unlikely possibility of a President Trump-aligned Republican winning in a heavily Democratic state like California, issues of crime, housing, and wildfires appearing to be minimized during the campaign in favor of labeling the recall as a "Republican takeover," and the "hostile" treatment he received from the media.
"I was running against three entities," Elder said. "Of course, I ran against Gavin Newsom, I also ran against the state and local party, the Democratic Party, but I also ran against the media."
"Present company excluded," Elder told Michaelson, "but much of the media was hostile, local and national media, especially Politico, CNN, and The LA Times. For crying out loud, The LA Times ran an article that said ‘Larry Elder is the Black face of White Supremacy.’"
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