BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It took Larry Elder just seven days to come back to Bakersfield.
The Republican candidate for governor appeared last Thursday at the Superior Courthouse, and this afternoon he spoke to a crowd of hundreds at Jastro Park.
“We got a state to save, don’t we?” Elder asked the crowd.
Elder got the masses cheering, touching on some of the hottest issues in Kern County.
“Crime doesn’t have a party. Homelessness doesn’t have a party. The rise in the cost of living doesn’t have a party,” Elder said.
Why’s he back in Bakersfield? Political consultant Cathy Abernathy points to a healthy voting bloc ahead of next Tuesday’s recall election.
“We have a strong vote here, we have strong conservatives,” Abernathy said. “They vote for Republican conservatives running for office, so it’s a strong area.”
On Thursday afternoon, Elder’s supporters showed up to Jastro Park downtown in Make America Great Again hats and shirts, but Elder balked at being called a “Trump Republican.”
“Why don’t you call me a Mitt Romney Republican? Or a George W. Bush Republican? Or a George Herbert Walker Bush Republican?” Elder said. “They call me a Trump Republican because they believe that Trump is a four-letter word here in California.”
Supporters like Jorge Martinez shy away from using the former president’s name.
“I don’t want to say the word, because it triggers people, but he was the best for our country, to me,” Martinez said.
Familiar rhetoric was alive and well in the crowd at Jastro Park. After Trump claimed on Tuesday that the recall election was “probably rigged,” Martinez had this to say on the prospects of the recall effort failing at the polls.
“I don’t want to be one of those QAnons, but I think it would be because of election fraud,” Martinez said.
Kern County Clerk Mary Bedard told 17 News there have been no instances of voter fraud in Kern during this election period.
Elder characterized the recall effort as the result of a desire held by many, not just so-called “Trump Republicans.”
“As I said, it’s across the board,” Elder said. “People want this man out.”
Elder will continue campaigning ahead of election day next Tuesday. The latest polling data from the Public Policy Institute of California suggests the recall is unlikely to succeed, although Elder leads all replacement candidates by a large margin.