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Gov. Gavin Newsom could be gaining voters – Monterey Herald

MONTEREY COUNTY — The overwhelming majority of people in Monterey County who voted against the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom surpassed the number who voted for him for governor in 2018, perhaps signaling growth in the Democratic Party.

Newsom won the recall handily in the county by a margin of 67.88% to 32.12%, according to the final vote tally from the Monterey County Elections Office. But what could be even more telling is the increase in the percentage of voters supporting Newsom in the recall compared with the percentage who voted for him in his gubernatorial campaign in 2018.

What’s impossible to tell is how many who voted against the recall actually supported Newsom or whether it was a vote against alternatives like Larry Elder with ties to former President Donald Trump. A large number of ballots had no recall candidate selected. Of the 119,508 ballots cast, only 62,725 picked a candidate. Of those ballots, Elder received 27,841 votes, which gave him a plurality of 44.39%. The next nearest alternative candidate, Brandon Ross, garnered just 5.35%.

According to the California Secretary of State’s Office, 1.9% more voters in Monterey County voted against the recall than voted for Newsom in 2018. The 67.88% of county voters who voted against the recall compares to the 65.98% who voted for Newsom in 2018.

Gary Karnes, the vice-chairman of the Monterey County Democratic Party, said one of the factors contributing to the success of Democrats in the county is young Latino voters in the Salinas Valley. Roughly 82% of the heavily Latino districts in East Salinas voted against the recall, Karnes said.

“That doesn’t mean Democrats will win them over,” Karnes said. The number of voters registering No Party Preference, the equivalent of “independent” in California, is on the rise and in Monterey County they are second only to Democrats in voter identification. Also, Karnes said, Democrats have topped the 50% mark in Monterey County with those independent voters coming in second at 27% and Republicans at 23%.

Jeff Gorman, a candidate who ran against Rep. Jimmy Panetta in 2020 and plans to run again, expressed a degree of frustration in the final numbers since Newsom gathered significant criticism from both parties over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One possible factor is that Elder got into the recall race late and didn’t have enough time to present his platform to voters, he said. Another could be that when Gorman attended the California Republican Party Convention following the recall election, he heard party chairwoman Jessica Patterson and other prominent leaders in the party discuss the downside of rhetoric about voter fraud.

“We were suppressing our own vote by telling people their vote won’t count,” Gorman said.

Once Elder got into the race, that gave Democrats the ability to target him, Gorman said. Before Elder announced his candidacy, the recall was polling more favorably for Republicans.

The gain for Democrats from 2018 until the recall election wasn’t just in Monterey County. The Bay Area saw the same trend, according to data from the state elections office. For example, about 68% of voters in Contra Costa County voted for Newsom in 2018, but the number in that county voting “no” on the recall climbed by a similar amount to Monterey County, up to 71%.

Santa Cruz County increased by 1.3% of voters supporting Newsom than voted for him in 2018, and in Santa Clara County there was a 2.3% increase.

The results could also portend simple demographic changes rather than increasing support for Newsom. The number of Democrats continues to increase in the Bay Area, a trend for the past 20 years.

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