California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will remain in office, after easily beating a Republican-led effort to oust him in a special recall election on Tuesday.
It sends a decisive message that the state’s voters approve of Newsom’s policies around COVID-19.
Newsom spoke in the state’s capital less than an hour after polls closed, when U.S. television networks projected his victory.
“I'm humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote ane express themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division.”
By late Tuesday, Newsom’s win was clear - With nearly 50 percent of precincts reporting, Newsom was up by more than 30 points, according to state data.
His top opponent, Republican radio host and Trump supporter Larry Elder accepted the loss.
“Let's be gracious, let's be gracious in defeat. And by the way, we may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.”
Newsom’s success comes as a relief to Democrats, who were already bracing for a tough fight in elections next year that will decide control of Congress.
He and party leaders cast the recall effort as part of a broader Republican wave to oust Democrats from power and expand conservative restrictions on voting, civil rights and abortion.
Earlier on Tuesday Newsom scolded Trump supporters who still stand behind his baseless claims of voter fraud in last year’s presidential election.
"This election fraud stuff is a crock. It's shameful. And it's shameful. And I say that, I mean that as an American. I'm ashamed. I'm disgusted by it. Grow up. These people are literally vandalizing our democracy and our trust in our institutions.”
In the final days of the race, Newsom leaned on campaign support from President Joe Biden and Vice president Kamala Harris.
California's Secretary of State has until Oct. 22 to certify the recall results.