Democratic governor survives bid to oust him

World

California Governor Gavin Newsom appears to have survived a rare state-wide vote to remove him with a clear majority, reported US media.

Republicans launched the election over his handling of the pandemic.

The Democrat, currently in the third year of his four-year term, had faced a field of 46 candidates, and was expected to win by a large margin.

Both President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris campaigned with Newson ahead of the contest.

“I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote,” said Newsom in a victory speech in Sacramento.

The outcome has been closely watched as a bellwether for national 2022 elections.

Newsom’s main rival, conservative radio host Larry Elder, claimed that the vote was rigged before polls even opened.

On the eve of the recall vote, Biden appeared at a rally with Newsom – a former San Francisco mayor – to tell voters that their choice will “reverberate around the world”.

The effort to unseat Newsom has been driven by increasingly partisan politics, but gained steam after he was photographed dining at a fancy restaurant while urging Californians to stay home to avoid spreading Covid-19.

He apologised for the “bad mistake” but some voters found his actions to be hypocritical.

Nearly 1.5 million signatures were gathered by petition, meeting the bar for an election to test to decide whether Californians wanted to keep Newsom in office, or replace him.

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