As the recall charges into its final days, Democrats’ midsummer panic has given way to cautious confidence that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s outlook has brightened, aided by healthy turnout so far, a towering advantage in money and the emergence of an ideal foil: Larry Elder.
A spate of polls showing a tightening race in July worked to Democrats’ advantage, as they marshaled their considerable institutional might in this deep-blue state to nudge their voters to the ballot box. But with seven days of voting to go, Newsom’s allies are working to ensure that promising signs for the governor do not lead to last-minute voter complacency.
“Even though the polling looks better, we’re still very clear that you can’t take anything for granted,” said Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, among Newsom’s allies opposing the recall. “This last … push is where the campaign is won or lost. Absolutely we can’t take our foot off the pedal.”
Recall proponents, meanwhile, are projecting an air of underdog scrappiness, noting their effort, underestimated from the start, managed to give Newsom some serious heartburn. The fact that Newsom continues to seek help from national Democrats, they said, is a sign that the governor’s worries have not abated.
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