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Recall Election

Dems Return More Than Twice as Many Recall Ballots as Republicans



Early recall returns are providing Gov. Gavin Newsom with good news as his battles the "enthusiasm gap." (Shutterstock)
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Yes, it’s early in the California gubernatorial recall voting. But data from election guru Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc. shows that Democrats have returned more than twice as many ballots as Republicans.

With 5% of the 22 million ballots returned, Democrats have turned in 604,981 compared to 236,038 for Republicans, Mitchell reported. Decline-to-state voters had sent back 236,002 through Monday, Aug. 23.

The state’s county clerks sent out 10.3 million recall ballots to Democrats, 6.3 million to independents, and 5.3 million to Republicans.

(This story was updated Tuesday morning. An earlier version reported the total of returned ballots (3%) as of Saturday.)

Much of the analysis about the attempted recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom has centered on whether Democrats are motivated to turn out in big numbers.

Polling thus far has indicated that Republicans are more enthusiastic about ousting Newsom than Democrats are about keeping him in office. The so-called “enthusiasm gap” has revealed itself in polls showing that Newsom has a fight on his hands.

Newsom Focuses Attacks on Elder

Earlier this month, Newsom exhorted Democrats to pay attention because the race appears close.

“His particular challenge is to persuade Democrats that they really need to take this seriously and that they need to go out and vote,” said Jim Newton, who teaches communication and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a former political reporter for the Los Angeles Times. “One way to do it is to remind them that this is not just an empty exercise, that there are real consequences to it.”

Newsom also is stepping up his attacks on the charismatic Larry Elder, a conservative radio talk-show host who has emerged as the Republican front-runner.

“I’d say he’s even more extreme than (Donald) Trump in many respects,” Newsom said recently.

The Newsom campaign is counting on organized labor to go door-to-door in the state’s biggest cities to explain to Democrats that their votes are needed to fend off the recall.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email