BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It was a long night for voters around Kern County … gritting their teeth … wondering whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will be kicked out of office. While the governor defeated the recall election by a wide margin on a state-wide level, the latest numbers show a majority of Kern voters wanted to kick Newsom out of office. Both parties focused most of their attention on the pandemic.
Kern County democrats cheered, as as NBC News and the Associated Press reported the recall effort against governor Gavin Newsom has failed. Many who voted “no,” say they support the way the governor has handled the pandemic.
“We can hopefully see less deaths, less COVID,” said Imelda Ceja-Butkiewicz, Chair of the Kern Central Labor Council. “He’s mandated the masks for our protection and our safety, and we’re going to beat the pandemic.”
This comes as Kern County faces yet another wave of COVID-19 infections. The most recent state data says the local COVID-19 test positivity rate more than doubles the state’s average.
“That means that we need to have mandates for masks. This means we need to increase the number of vaccinated Californians,” said Tracy Lopez, Vice Chair of the Kern County Democratic Party. “I think the governor started on that course already.”
But not everyone agrees. The latest data says a majority of Kern residents voted “yes” on the recall effort. Many blasted the governor’s pandemic response.
“Families are struggling. We have millions of Californians … small, hard-working families … who have lost their jobs due to government shutdowns initiated by the stroke of a pen by this governor,” said Kern resident Michael Caves, who supported the recall.
“I think the extended shutdowns, longer than many of the other democratic governors and his peers, just prolonged the economic suffering that so many people are experiencing,” said Kern resident Tristain Wieser, who also voted to remove Newsom from office.
Some voters supporting the recall say they don’t believe he’s done enough to tackle issues like wildfires and criminal justice.
“What we’ve seen with Newsom is a repeat of many of these failed policies,” said Clayton Campbell, a Republican Political Analyst for 17 News. “The highest tax rates around the country, homelessness, crime, all these things that have skyrocketed under governor Newsom.”
Meanwhile many who wanted to keep Newsom in office say his opponents would mishandle state laws.
“We’re seeing a lot of democrats turn out. The fear of someone like Larry Elder,” said Neel Sannappa, a Democratic Political Analyst for 17 News. “Someone that wants the minimum wage to be zero. Someone who is anti-choice. Someone who is against the progressive values that California champions.”
It’s important to note that votes are still being counted around the state, but the margin is wide enough to make most political analysts confident in Newsom’s projected win.