The pandemic was the No. 1 issue for many California voters.

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The coronavirus pandemic helped propel Governor Gavin Newsom’s effort to recall the ballot in California, and on Tuesday, dealing with the pandemic was a major issue as nearly two-thirds of voters decided he should remain in office. .

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In the nation’s most populous state, voters surveyed by New York Times reporters outside polling places cited support for Mr Newsom’s pandemic restrictions and vaccine mandates as key factors in whether he chose to exclude or keep them. had voted for. The recall served as a preview of next year’s midterm elections nationally, with voters sharply divided along partisan lines on issues such as masks, lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations.

In San Francisco, Jose Orbeta said he voted to keep Mr Newsom, a Democrat, in office, and called the recall a “waste of time”.

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“This is a power grab by the GOP,” said Mr. Orbeta, a 50-year-old employee of the Public Health Department. He said Mr Newsom had done a “decent job” leading California through the pandemic despite his “lapse of judgment” in dining at the French Laundry during the height of the outbreak.

In Yorba Linda, a conservative suburb of Orange County, Jose Zenon, a Republican who runs an event-planning business with his wife, said he was impressed by Mr Newsom’s support for pandemic restrictions and vaccine mandates. He pointed to the examples of his friends visiting other states such as Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

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“That train from here is really long, and we can get on that too,” said Mr. Zenon, right after voting for Republican talk-radio host Larry Elder. Newsom’s work.

“The rules this governor has put in place have put a lot of businesses in an impossible position – we were without income for 10 months. Here we live in a condo, we want a house, but it’s impossible. Something have to change.”

Some voters in the increasingly politically active constituency of Chinese Americans supported the recall. He blamed Mr Newsom for a rise in marijuana dispensaries, homeless people and crime, which he said are ravaging the cluster of cities east of Los Angeles, where Chinese immigrants, many of them now US citizens, who have been living for years. are emerging from.

“We really don’t like the situation in California,” said Fenglan Liu, 53, who immigrated to the United States from mainland China 21 years ago and helped mobilize volunteers in the San Gabriel Valley.

“No place is safe; Crime is terrible. Newsom needs to go. This is failed management, not a pandemic.”

In the wealthy Orange County suburb of Ladera Ranch, 42-year-old Candice Carvalho cast her vote against the recall, because, she said, “I thought it was important to show that Orange County isn’t just Republican.”

She expressed disappointment that so much attention was being paid to the recall at a crucial moment in the pandemic.

“It was a waste of money and completely unnecessary,” she said. “And I’m a little surprised that we’re focused on it now.” While he admitted to knowing little about the specifics of the state’s election laws, he said it seemed “a little too easy” to get the recall effort on the ballot.

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