The tectonic plates just shifted in the race to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, although it will likely take more Republican momentum to seriously shake his hold on power.
Conservatives in California Wednesday afternoon cheered a Sacramento judge’s decision to rebuke the state’s top election official after she blocked conservative talk-show personality Larry Elder from appearing on the ballot. Superior Court Judge Laurie Earl ordered the Secretary of State Shirley Weber to include Elder’s name on the certified list of candidates challenging the governor in the recall, which is set to take place Sept. 14. There are 42 other certified candidates.
In a swift decision, Earl determined that the secretary of state’s requirement that candidates produce tax returns in order to qualify for the ballot applied to primary elections, not recalls. “I don’t find that Mr. Elder was required to file tax returns at all,” she said at Wednesday’s hearing.
Reacting to the judge’s decision, Elder tweeted that it amounted to a “TOTAL VICTORY!!”
“California judge rules that the election law Elder allegedly violated DID NOT EVEN APPLY to a recall election AND even if it did, Elder ‘SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLIED.’ I will be on the ballot,” the candidate tweeted along with a YouTube video of a young Muhammad Ali after his career-making 1964 triumph over Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight boxing title.
Two hours later, he boasted in a subsequent tweet that his next “victory” will be on “Sept. 14 at the ballot box.”
Carl DeMaio, a conservative Southern California radio talk show host and chairman of Reform California, a group helping to organize the recall, issued a “BREAKING” tweet.
“We are THRILLED with this decision,” he said, though he noted that neither he nor his organization is endorsing any candidates in the recall “at this time.”
Over the last three days, Republicans backing Newsom’s recall angrily questioned Weber’s decision to abruptly disqualify Elder, at times speculating that partisan political motivations were behind the decision, as well as potentially racist efforts to deny a black conservative with high name recognition from appearing on the ballot. Elder is a syndicated libertarian talk show host, Fox contributor, author and attorney.