Gov. Gavin Newsom, fresh from soundly defeating recall, thanked California and said it was much more than his career that was at stake.
“No is not the only thing that was expressed tonight. I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state,” Newsom said. “We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic, we said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression, we said yes to a woman’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does for her body.
“We said yes to diversity, we said yes to inclusion. … We said yes to all those things we hold dear as Californians and, I would argue, as Americans.”
Polls had shown Newsom likely to beat back the recall, with the governor warning that his ouster would usher in a new era of conservative Republican rule in the mold of former President Trump.
Conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who had emerged as a favorite during the campaign, led the field of 46 candidates vying to succeed Newsom.
The governor said he saw the recall’s failure as a hopeful sign.
“I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and express themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division, by rejecting the cynicism, by rejecting so much of the negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years,” Newsom said.
The historic election provided California voters with an opportunity to judge Newsom’s ability to lead the state through the COVID-19 pandemic, a worldwide health crisis that has shattered families and livelihoods. In the end, Newsom emerged as the second governor in U.S. history to overcome a recall attempt.