California voters voted Tuesday to cast the final ballot in an election focused on whether Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom should keep his job.
Voters were asked to answer whether Newsom should remain in office and if he did not, who would replace him. dozens of candidates, most of them Republican, running for the seat.
Many Californians have voted in recent weeks by dropping their ballots on designated boxes or by mail. Others chose Tuesday as the last day to vote at polling stations.
Here are some of his stories:
Erica Taylor, 47, works for San Francisco’s Department of Public Health and said she voted against the recall, which she found a waste of money.
She said she supports Newsom and likes how she has handled the pandemic.
“Politicians are human beings at the end of the day. They are placed on this high pedestal, but beneath all this we are all human beings and make mistakes,” she said.
A native of San Franciscans, Taylor said she has supported Newsom since she began her political career in the city.
“I worked with this guy at Bill Graham (Civic Auditorium) to connect Project Homeless, so he is definitely someone who stands out in his community,” she said.
Marisela Ruiz, 43, is a Democrat who voted against the recall. If the recall effort is successful, Ruiz said he voted for cannabis consultant Jacqueline McGowan as Newsom’s replacement.
“I want Democrats to stay in California,” the Los Angeles carer said outside a polling place at Montecito Heights Senior Citizen Center.
Ruiz said her biggest concern is homelessness, but believes Newsom is “doing its best to clear the streets.”
He is up for the idea of another Democrat challenging Newsom in 2022 to get fresh ideas.
She said she has heard conspiracy theories about the integrity of the election, but does not believe them. “It’s so silly,” she said.
Bradley Pierce, 21, voted against recalling Newsom to a high school in San Diego in a diverse neighborhood with a large refugee population.
“I was intrigued by the opportunity of someone who supports a more conservative agenda becoming governor,” said Pierce, who is studying education at San Diego State University.
He said he didn’t check any boxes for a candidate to replace Newsom if he is indeed called back. He said the Democrats who are seeking to replace him have little experience.
Pierce said he believes Newsom has handled the pandemic well. He also likes what Newsom has promised to do about homelessness and improve public education in the state.
Joe Cusumano, 77, who is a registered Democrat but has voted Republican in recent years, wants a new governor.
San Diego Barber said her feelings for Newsom are similar to those of President Joe Biden. “They don’t know how to hand over power,” he said. “Newsom still has a lot to learn.”
Cusumano used to cut the hair of former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulkner, whom he described as “San Diego’s man, decent man.”
But he doesn’t believe he will be the best Republican to replace Newsom. He said he favors conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who he finds more charismatic.
“Larry the Elder has a little more wisdom than the others,” he said.
Brianna Mendoza, 30, said the last thing California needs is upheaval. The San Diego activist said she voted against the recall of Newsom.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic. Why would we miss the governor who is actually trying to stop the spread of the virus?” he said. “I’m a big fan of the mask, test and vaccine mandate.”
Mendoza said she sees the recall effort as a “reaction” to a small minority of Republicans looking to a stronger democratic state.
Mendoza said he was not worried about the success of the recall effort, but made sure to cast his vote. “We don’t want the Elder in the office,” she said. “It’s funny. We just got Trump out. We don’t want a Trump puppet.”
Than Nguyen, 66, said he voted last year to recall Newsom over his remarks that the coronavirus spread through a nail salon, which angered many in the Vietnamese American community.
The retiree from the Orange County city of Garden Grove, who immigrated to the country from Vietnam four decades ago, said he doesn’t work in the salon industry, but the remarks upset him.
“They never got it right,” Nguyen said after voting in the nearby city of Westminster.
Nguyen said he is concerned about education and how officials are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
He said he chose Assemblyman Kevin Kelly to replace Newsom because he was an early supporter of the recall and had the support of some of its original supporters.
“We don’t know much about him, but the main thing is that he stands up and remembers,” he said. “I give him credit for that.”
Kimmy Wuong, 54, said her biggest concerns are the economy and homelessness, and she doesn’t think Newsom is doing enough on both.
So the owner of a hair salon in the Orange County city of Westminster said he had voted to recall her.
“I think that doesn’t work well for this state,” she said. “The economy here is very bad. Every company is moving out of this state.”
Vuong said she has seen many of her salon customers leave California over the past year to move to places like Arizona and Texas. He said that this has hurt his business and yet the prices keep rising.
She said she chose Kelly to replace Newsom, adding that she is a committed Republican and believes in her Republican credentials.
“I think he is an impartial leader and seeks out our community,” she said. “He has more experience. And besides, he’s a true Republican.”
Denise Cain, 51, a Republican housewife in Lafayette, California, voted to recall Newsom because of “trash, homelessness, fires, whether businesses can be open and what can be closed during COVID and lockdown.” Continuing the long list.
“Let’s see, schools are a disgrace. Oh, gas prices will be another,” she said.
She did not vote for Newsom in 2018.
“I hope a replacement candidate will do a better job. I think this state is in dire straits and something needs to be done,” she said.
She said she voted for Kelly because she thinks she is more centrist and likes her policies. “We need someone to unite this state,” not its polarization, she said.
Eric Fonseca, 63, said he voted against the recall because he supports Newsom and does not want to see a divided California.
“That man has done a lot for the state. They have helped poor people during the pandemic, and it is not fair that Republicans want to come to California and destroy the peace,” Fonseca said after voting in San Francisco.
Fonseca came to the city from Nicaragua 40 years ago, when his home country was going through a civil war. He said he voted for Trump in 2016 as he talked about ending authoritarian governments in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.
“It was all a lie. He fooled us and did nothing,” Fonseca said.
“Larry the Elder is the same thing. He just lies. We don’t want any more lies,” he said.
Janet Webb, 69, of Lafayette, said she voted for the recall and Elder because of Newsom’s stance on the vaccine mandate.
“I’m angry. It should be freedom of choice. What is this dictatorship? I had that. I’ve never felt so angry. I’m losing all my friends and family. They don’t want anything to do with me right now.” he said.
“If he enforces it, I will have to move out of this state. I can’t stay here like this if they are going to force everyone to get vaccinated,” she said. “I do everything right: I take my vitamins, I walk around the reservoir, I eat healthy. I’ve already had coronavirus, and my immune system is already ready.”
She said she was at her daughter-in-law’s baby shower this weekend, and it turned into such a heated argument with relatives that she had to leave. She said she voted to recall Newsom and replace him with the Elder.
Steve Marsh, 75, a retired realtor from the Orange County city of Westminster and a Republican, said he supports the recall and feels Newsom favors too many taxes and too many social programs.
He said he also didn’t like how the governor handled the coronavirus pandemic by closing businesses.
“I really objected to the whole thing,” he said.
Marsh said he chose Elder to replace Newsom, adding that he listened to Elder’s radio program and identified with his conservative views on abortion and social programs.
Marsh said he didn’t expect the return to be successful in California with so many Democratic voters. But he said he hoped it could prevent Newsom from achieving a higher position, even if it failed.
“I didn’t vote for him before, and I’m going to vote for him, but I don’t expect California, because there are so many Democrats, to really change anything,” Marsh said.
Eric Peterson, 52,…