He says the vote showed that voters “said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians.”
Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, which pursued the Yes on Recall campaign, though, told backers at an election night event in Escondido that “Gavin Newsom should not be celebrating tonight.”
“First, millions of votes are not yet counted and not yet reflected in these numbers,” said DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman. “Our core “Yes” voters waited to return their ballots until today. We fully expect to pick up significant ground as election day and provisional votes are counted.”
He added that Newsom supporters outspent recall backers 32-to-1.
Top Republican challenger Larry Elder, meanwhile, took the stage at his Costa Mesa election night event, where scores of supporters awaited him following Newsom’s declaration of victory.
When he mentioned Newsom’s name, the crowd booed and he urged them, “let’s be gracious in defeat.”
“We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” Elder said.
In the days leading up to the recall vote, Elder and former President Donald Trump pushed the narrative that Democrats planned to steal the election, echoing allegations Trump made about his own 2020 race.
DeMaio appeared to build on that accusation in his Escondido remarks, calling California’s voter rolls “a mess.”
“That’s why our first priority,” he said “is to demand election integrity – by auditing and cleaning up the voter registration rolls and by requiring voter ID going forward.”
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, trailing Elder badly statewide, quickly conceded defeat Tuesday in Point Loma.
“It’s clear that our work in California is not finished,” he told supporters. “This recall showed that if you keep the focus on Gavin Newsom, he can be beat … the focus of this election turned into national politics and personalities.”
Another prominent Republican in the race, Rancho Santa Fee businessman John Cox, told supporters Tuesday the fight to gain control of the state is not over.
“I’m a CPA. I’m a businessman,” he said. “I’m horrified at the waste, the corruption, the mismanagement of this state. I’m still hopeful that I’ll get a chance to manage this government and turn it around.”
Democrat Kevin Paffrath, called it a “massive victory” that his campaign drew 10% of the statewide vote. He came in second to Elder and ahead of Faulconer, an early favorite among Republicans.
In an election night interview he appeared to still be campaigning, opting to again take aim at Elder.
“We are an agent of change in California,” he said. “Larry Elder will never be that.”
– Staff and wire reports
Updated 10:10 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. Sept. 14, 2021