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Kern County votes to recall, state votes to keep Newsom

20210915-bc-electionlocal

Cassidy Morales with the Election office collects ballots at the drive-thru elections post at 1115 Truxtun Ave. Tuesday Morning.

Initial results from the Kern County Elections Division showed solid support in Kern for recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday night.

A total of 51,725 people, or 58.1 percent, in Kern County voted "yes" on the question of whether Newsom should be recalled, with 37,262, or 41.9 percent, voting "no," in unofficial final results available Wednesday morning.

Radio host Larry Elder had by far the strongest showing in Kern County, earning 37,154 votes, or around 63.2 percent of the total, in those results available Wednesday morning. Businessman John Cox had the second highest, with 4,755 votes, or 8.1 percent of the total, and Kevin Faulconer came in third with 3,261 votes, or 5.6 percent of the total.

Kern County stood in contrast with the initial statewide election results, which revealed 36.1 percent of Californians were in favor of the recall and 63.9 percent were against.

As one of the only reliably conservative places in the state, Bakersfield served as a frequent campaign stop for multiple Republican candidates throughout the recall election. Radio host Larry Elder made three stops alone in the city. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he visited Bakersfield five times.

Local Republicans expected a big turnout on Election Day in support of recalling the governor, not just from conservatives, but from voters of all parties and independents.

“Two point five million Democrat, Republican, and independent voters signed a petition to utilize the recall provisions in the California Constitution,” Kern County Republican Party Chairman Ken Weir said in a statement to The Californian. “That’s proof that we are right in this recall effort.”

He went on to sarcastically label frequent conservative criticisms such as California’s relatively high fuel tax and struggling public school systems as Newsom’s “accomplishments.”

“Newsom often brags this state is ‘blue,’ that he has enough Democrats to depend on so he has no interest in Republicans and independents,” he continued. “That’s his mistake. That’s why he needs to get recalled.”

But local Democrats were optimistic Tuesday’s voting totals would fall in their favor.

“I’m confident. But I also, like many, recall 2016. And so I’m confident with a tinge of PTSD,” said Robin Walters, president of the Democratic Women of Kern, recalling the shock of Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

However, she predicted things would go differently with the recall, citing Newsom’s “responsible” pandemic policies as one reason why he would prevail this election.

“At the end of the day, I would like to think that even Republicans recognize they haven’t put forth any kind of alternatives,” she said. “They just put, ‘vote yes’ on the recall without offering anything up.’”

The Kern County Elections Division has until Oct. 14 to certify election results. Mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday can still be counted if they arrive in the elections office within seven days after the election, meaning the official results will not be known for days, or perhaps weeks.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.