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Newsom and GOP Challenger Larry Elder Trade Criticisms At Labor Day Recall Campaign Events In Southern California

Asseblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer leans down to point his finger at Gov. Gavin Newsom, who's squatting to speak to a small child standing with Jones-Sawyer. All three are wearing masks.
State Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer addresses California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, before a get-out-the-vote rally in L.A.'s Crenshaw neighborhood. Newsom faces a recall election over whether he should remain in office.
(Kyle Stokes
/
LAist)
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Eight days before an election on whether to oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the target of the recall effort himself stood before a small crowd in Los Angeles on Monday, and played the role of his own pollster.

“There is not a public opinion poll that hasn’t suggested this: Registered voters are overwhelmingly opposed to this recall …,” Newsom said. “The question is, what will likely voters do?”

Newsom and his leading opponent, Republican Larry Elder, both spent the Labor Day holiday rallying their own bases of “likely voters” in Southern California — and perhaps hoping to engage new supporters before the September 14 election.

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Outside the storefront in the Crenshaw neighborhood where Newsom spoke, volunteers prepared to go knock on doors, hoping to spend the holiday reaching out to voters in the Democratic stronghold who may not be fully motivated to vote.

“You have people that are like, ‘oh heck no’ … I’m voting no, I’m not going to let them mess over our community,” said volunteer Simboa Wright, a vice president of the SEIU Local 721 labor union. “But then you have other folks that are just not engaged. That’s why we’re here, to engage those folks.”

A group of a dozen of L.A. County’s most prominent elected Black leaders — including Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas and several friendly state legislators — flanked Newsom as he rallied the volunteers.

“How dare people say that we should recall someone,” asked Bass, “who was brave enough to make the hard decisions, in spite of the fact that it would hurt him politically? Because he did what leaders do?”

Several hundred supporters of Larry Elder, a Republican seeking to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, gathered in the parking lot of a Thousand Oaks mall. Many held umbrellas to shade themselves from the scorching sun.
Several hundred supporters of Larry Elder, a Republican seeking to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, gathered in the parking lot of a Thousand Oaks mall.
(Kyle Stokes
/
LAist)
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Later in the day, hundreds of Larry Elder supporters gathered in a baking-hot parking lot of a Thousand Oaks mall to hear the conservative radio host speak.

“No matter how much anyone here is sweating … no one is sweating like Gavin Newsom this very moment,” political commentator Dave Rubin told the crowd, eliciting cheers from Elder’s supporters.

In his speech, Elder — who’s African-American — responded to a critique that Black Lives Matter L.A. leader Melina Abdullah repeated this morning at Newsom’s rally: she called Elder “the Black face of white supremacy.”

“The reason for that [criticism],” Elder responded, “is because I dare to say racism is no longer a major problem in America. It’s a lie. It’s what the left does to divide us because they want to scare Black people and guilt trip white liberals into pulling the lever for them.”

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In Newsom’s remarks, the sitting governor continued to attack Elder’s policy proposals as extreme. He criticized Elder’s comments suggesting he’d abolish the minimum wage. He also warned Elder would do away with COVID-19 restrictions, such as a vaccination push for state employees and mask mandates in schools.

“This is not just an attack on the current incumbent governor,” Newsom said. “This is an attack on our values; the things we hold dear as a state.”