The California Republican Party on Saturday voted not to endorse a candidate in the Sept. 14 recall election targeting Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Four Republican contenders were considered for an endorsement: talk radio host Larry Elder, state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose, The Daily Wire reported.
Republican National Committee members Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel on Friday said the dangers of getting behind a single candidate were too great.
“The polls are showing that the recall is in a statistical tie and we cannot afford to discourage voters who are passionate about a particular candidate, yet may not vote because their favored candidate didn’t receive the endorsement,” they warned in an email to party delegates.
The recall vote has two phases.
Voters will first be asked if they want to recall Newsom. If a majority chooses to keep him in office, he stays. If a majority chooses to oust him, a second question comes into play.
The second question will ask which of the 46 candidates on the ballot a voter prefers. There are 24 Republicans in the running.
“Any of our GOP candidates would be superior to Gavin Newsom,” Dhillon and Steel said.
“We believe that the voters should decide his replacement, which will not only ensure a higher turnout of recall proponents but give Newsom’s successor the best chance of reelection in 2022.”
Should the California GOP have endorsed a candidate in the recall election?
Steel said the party’s focus must be on getting Newsom out of office.
“This is the worst governor, not only in California history, but even before California became a state,” Steel said, according to The Sacramento Bee. “I think it’s time to focus on Sept. 14, and get our people out.”
Many Republican state lawmakers have endorsed Faulconer in the race.
California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan defended the decision not to back a candidate in a statement.
“Today’s overwhelming decision by our delegates to offer no endorsement speaks to the strength of our field of candidates and the outstanding position our party is in going into the recall election,” Millan said.
“We are squarely focused on putting California back on track by recalling the worst governor in California history. Gavin Newsom is arrogant, incompetent and a desperate politician who has failed Californians in every way possible.”
“The state is burning, crime is spiking, homelessness is rampant, students have fallen behind, and taxes are suffocating working people.”
“On September 14th, voters will end the Newsom nightmare once and for all and finally restore good governing to California.”