San Francisco: California Democrats in Congress are keeping a close eye on polls that show Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) narrowly fending off a recall campaign amid concerns that Republican voters are disproportionately likely to be interested in casting ballots that would kick him out of office.
In interviews this week, Democrats cast the recall as a Republican power grab, one that will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars to administer just a year before Newsom faces voters at the end of his first term — but one that Newsom could ultimately lose.
“I see a real scenario where the governor loses if people don’t come out and vote, if Democrats stay home,” said Rep. Norma Torres (D).
Polls show most California voters oppose recalling Newsom from office, but by a narrowing margin. Among those who are most likely to cast a ballot in the Sept. 14 recall, the margin is even closer — a poll conducted for the University of California-Berkeley found the recall trailing just 47 percent to 50 percent among likely voters.
Though Democrats outnumber Republicans by about a 2-to-1 margin, Republican voters are far more likely to say they are excited to vote in the recall.
“These results make it plain that the big question surrounding the recall will be whether the Newsom campaign and Democratic activists are able to get Democratic voters more engaged and interested in voting in September,” said Eric Schickler, the poll’s co-director.
Newsom’s campaign has begun spending money on paid advertisements, the latest featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Vice President Harris, a close Newsom ally from their days coming up through San Francisco politics, has said she will campaign for the governor.
“It’s going to be a very tight race,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told The Hill. “I think people realize this is not a slam dunk.”
“He just has to focus on turnout. And I think he has to speak to the progressive base,” Khanna said.
Newsom’s foes had collected more than 2 million signatures to qualify the recall election, more than the roughly 1.5 million they needed.