Initial results from the Kern County Elections Division showed solid support for recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday night.
A total of 44,938 people in Kern County voted “yes” on the question of whether Newsom should be recalled, with 36,435 voting “no,” in early results available shortly after 8 p.m.
Radio host Larry Elder had by far the strongest showing in Kern County, earning 31,181 votes, or around 60.2 percent of the total. Businessman John Cox had the second highest, with 4,544 votes, or 8.8 percent of the total, and Kevin Faulconer came in third with 3,122 votes, or 6 percent of the total.
Kern County stood in contrast with the initial statewide election results, which revealed 30.7 percent of Californians were in favor of the recall and 69.3 percent were against, with 12.8 percent of precincts partially reporting.
The California Secretary of State continually updated vote totals throughout Tuesday night.
As one of the only reliably conservative places in the state, Bakersfield served as a frequent campaign stop for multiple Republican candidates throughout the recall election. Radio host Larry Elder made three stops alone in the city. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he visited Bakersfield five times.
Local Republicans expected a big turnout on Election Day in support of recalling the governor, not just from conservatives, but from voters of all parties and independents.
“Two point five million Democrat, Republican, and independent voters signed a petition to utilize the recall provisions in the California Constitution,” Kern County Republican Party Chairman Ken Weir said in a statement to The Californian. “That’s proof that we are right in this recall effort.”
He went on to sarcastically label frequent conservative criticisms such as California’s relatively high fuel tax and struggling public school systems as Newsom’s “accomplishments.”
“Newsom often brags this state is ‘blue,’ that he has enough Democrats to depend on so he has no interest in Republicans and independents,” he continued. “That’s his mistake. That’s why he needs to get recalled.”
But local Democrats were optimistic Tuesday’s voting totals would fall in their favor.
“I’m confident. But I also, like many, recall 2016. And so I’m confident with a tinge of PTSD,” said Robin Walters, president of the Democratic Women of Kern, recalling the shock of Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
However, she predicted things would go differently with the recall, citing Newsom’s “responsible” pandemic policies as one reason why he would prevail this election.
“At the end of the day, I would like to think that even Republicans recognize they haven’t put forth any kind of alternatives,” she said. “They just put, ‘vote yes’ on the recall without offering anything up.’”
The Kern County Elections Division has until Oct. 14 to certify election results. Mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday can still be counted if they arrive in the elections office within seven days after the election, meaning the official results will not be known for days, or perhaps weeks.
At least 50 percent of voters must choose “no” on the recall to keep Newsom in office. Although the governor’s lead may be reduced as more results are turned in, for now, he seems to be in a comfortable position.
You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.
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