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By Diana Diamond

An almost impossible election?

Uploaded: Aug 11, 2021

IF Gov. Gavin Newsom is recalled during the upcoming Sept. 14 special election, voters face a ridiculous situation: choosing one of 46 candidates running to become the new governor of California.

It’s an incredible election because it’s on an unexpected and untraditional day – the second Tuesday of September, and because this recall effort was engineered by a strong, determined group of Republicans who ostensibly want to assume control of another state legislature.

And most of all, if people are at least aware there is an election a month away, few have had the time, opportunity or interest to parse through this multitude of candidates, much less their qualifications for office, and then finally figure out who to vote for. To date, it’s been a very lackluster campaign.

I scanned the list of candidates and found that few of the many have had ANY experience in government and not many have had any managerial experience -- unfortunately, they boast about that.

And the more I thought about this Sept. 14 vote, I wondered why we had to have the recall and select a new governor the very same day and on the same ballot (to save money, I guess, because it costs a lot to run an election). It’s the state purse that rules this time, not the public’s preference to choose the “right” person.

My bigger question is if Newsom loses, then why doesn’t our Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis, assume command, as has just happened in New York State.

So, I called California’s Secretary of State’s office and asked.

“That’s a good question,” the state employee said. ‘I’ll find out – please hold for a minute or so.”

Seven minutes later she was back. The Lieutenant Governor assumes the gubernatorial role if the governor is “impeached or resigns.”

And not if his health is seriously impaired? I asked. She said she would find out; I told her to forget about it. But I had a few more questions and she transferred me to the press office.

The press officer said the concurrent recall vote and the selection of a new governor is a state constitutional rule, which is “the way the process works,” as it did in the recall of Gov. Gray Davis, which resulted in Arnold Schwarzenegger taking over. And there is no limit on the number of people who could run for governor. He did not know if there had been any recent legislative efforts to improve the recall process.

So, people, we are left with a problematic process.

Of the 46 candidates, 24 are Republicans, 10 have no party preference, nine are Democrats, two are members of the Green Party and one is a Libertarian.

Newsom’s name is not on the candidate list. From what I’ve read, the Dems decided not to run any recognizable name, fearing a prominent Democrat might draw Dem votes away from a “no” vote on the Newsom recall. If 50 percent or more vote “no” to the recall, Newsom remains in office.

Reviewing the list, it seems to me that there’s no experienced Democrat to choose, and most of the GOP candidates are quite conservative.

Larry Elder, who seems to be one of the top GOP candidates, is running on the following platform, according to the SJ Mercury:
• Get rid of pandemic mandates.
• Do not fire bad teachers (he is reversing his previous position).
• The minimum wage should be zero.
• He doesn’t believe in “climate change alarmism.”
• He doesn’t believe in the wage gap and doesn’t support welfare spending.
• He thinks Roe v. Wade should go.
• Blaming Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in D.C. is unfair, he said.

Not much of a “help others” campaign.

Newsom made some mistakes during his current term, and exercised poor management over such issues as providing unemployment insurance in a timely manner. He see-sawed back and forth over COVID-19 rules. But he also made a lot of good decisions.

The choice is either Newsom or one of the 46 others on the ballot. I fear that those who are strong supporters of Newsom will not turn out, thinking he has a victory in his bag. But polls show he may not win because of low supporter turnout.

We need to have a governor, that’s for sure. So at least mail in your absentee ballot, which is certainly not hard to do.

The next gubernatorial election is a little more than a year from now in November 2022. Who can predict just what will happen?