The coronavirus pandemic helped propel Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attempt to recall from the polls in California, and on Tuesday his handling of the pandemic was a key issue as about two-thirds of voters decided he should stay in office.
In the country’s most populous state, voters interviewed by New York Times reporters outside the polling stations cited Mr Newsom’s pandemic restrictions and support for immunization warrants as key factors in determining whether they voted to oust him or keep him. The recall served as a snapshot of next year’s nationwide midterm elections, with voters sharply divided along partisan lines on issues such as masks, lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations.
In San Francisco, Jose Orbeta said he voted to keep Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, in power, calling the recall a “waste of time.”
“This is a takeover by the GOP,” said Mr. Orbeta, a 50-year-old employee of the Ministry of Public Health. He said Mr Newsom had done a “decent job” in leading California through the pandemic despite his “lack of judgment” in dining at the French Laundry during the height of the epidemic.
In Yorba Linda, a conservative Orange County suburb, Jose Zenon, a Republican who runs an event-hosting business with his wife, said he was furious at Mr Newsom’s pandemic restrictions and support for vaccination warrants. He cited examples of his friends leaving for other states, such as Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
“This train to get out of here is really long, and we could get on it too,” Zenon said, just after voting for Larry Elder, the Republican radio host who topped the challengers in the field. hope to take Mr. Newsom’s work.
“The rules this governor set put a lot of businesses in an impossible position – we were without income for 10 months. Here we live in a condo, we want to have a house, but it’s just not possible. Something must change.
Some voters in an increasingly politically active constituency of Chinese Americans supported the recall. They blamed Mr Newsom for the increase in marijuana dispensaries, homelessness and crime that they say is ruining the cluster of towns east of Los Angeles where Chinese immigrants, many of whom are now citizens. Americans, have thrived for years.
“We really don’t like the situation in California,” said Fenglan Liu, 53, who immigrated to the United States from mainland China 21 years ago and helped mobilize volunteers in the San Gabriel Valley. .
“No place is safe; the crime is terrible. Newsom has to go. It’s failed management, not the pandemic. “
In the affluent Orange County suburb of Ladera Ranch, Candice Carvalho, 42, voted against the recall because, she said, “I thought it was important to show that Orange County is not just Republicans.
She expressed frustration that the recall is getting so much attention at a critical time in the pandemic.
“It was a waste of money and completely unnecessary,” she said. “And I’m a little shocked that we’re focusing on that now.” Although she admitted knowing little about the specifics of state election laws, she said it seemed “a little too easy” to get the recall attempt on the ballot.