While talk radio host Larry Elder lost in his bid to become California’s next governor during the recall election earlier this week, he had indicated the campaign might not be his last.
“We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” Elder told a crowd of supporters Tuesday after conceding the California recall.
But in an exclusive interview with Inside California Politics just two days later, Elder seemed to have changed his tune.
“It’s hard for me to see how the outcome would be any different unless I was able to raise at least as much money as he has spent — but even then, the thing is daunting,” Elder said.
“When you look at the registration — Democrat vs. Republican — when Gray Davis was recalled, it wasn’t nearly as lopsided as it is right now. Now independents outnumber Republicans. So it’s hard for me to see that where I have a rematch, the outcome would be a whole lot different,” he said.
Then he added: “But I may change my mind over the next coming days.”
Incomplete election results had Elder far ahead among the 46 candidates who had hoped to replace Newsom if the recall succeeded, but the recall itself was a dramatic failure.
Newsom will face reelection next year, and there has been speculation Elder could be in the running again. Elder referred to himself as a “former radio host,” suggesting his career was headed in a new direction.
Last week, Elder conspicuously didn’t answer directly when asked if he would consider a 2022 rematch against Newsom, who already has said he plans to seek a second term.
A 69-year-old lawyer and author, Elder would have become the state’s first Black governor if the recall had been successful. He spent part of his concession speech arguing that racial divisions in America are wildly overblown.
In the race, Newsom highlighted many of Elder’s positions that are out of step with most left-leaning Californians, including his criticism of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion and his promise to erase state vaccine and mask mandates.
But Elder claimed he was the one working to bridge differences and solve problems.
“I’m a uniter,” he said. “We are going to bring this country together.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.