THE BUZZ — A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX: It’s uncanny just how much the 2021 recall results look like 2018.
The share of Californians who voted against recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom was identical to Newsom’s 2018 gubernatorial victory margin, according to the final, certified total Secretary of State Shirley Weber released on Friday.
In 2018, Newsom defeated Republican John Cox by 61.9 percent to 38.1 percent. In September, voters backed keeping Newsom rather than ousting him by … 61.9 percent to 38.1 percent. The size of the electorate was similar: 12,712,542 votes were cast in 2018 (good for 64.5 percent turnout) and 12,892,578 in the recall (which meant 58.5 percent turnout in a larger pool of registered voters).
County-level results were also remarkably consistent. Every county that voted for Newsom in 2018 rejected the recall in 2021, save one: Merced County in the Central Valley, which flipped from 52-48 for Newsom to 52-48 for the recall despite a strong majority of registered Democrats. The narrowest wins for “no” came in Lake, Orange and San Bernardino counties, while “yes” slightly prevailed in Fresno and Riverside. Newsom saw his fortunes improve in purpling Orange County, where his margin jumped 3.2 points, while San Bernardino favored him by a slender 0.4 margin that was 2.6 points tighter than in 2018. The recall fared best in Modoc County and worst in San Francisco.
THE COMPETITION: Republican frontrunner Larry Elder posted 3.56 million total votes on the replacement question. That’s about 600,000 fewer than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger piled up in 2003, and more than five million voters sat out the replacement question after voting on the yes-or-no recall question. Elder placed first among recall candidates in every county except San Francisco, where Democratic YouTube star Kevin Paffrath prevailed by a mere 149 votes.
THE TAKEAWAY: Republicans saw the recall as a rare shot to reverse their long slide in California, believing they could use pandemic fatigue to galvanize conservatives and siphon off just enough independents and Democrats to topple Newsom. As a matter of basic electoral math, that was always an unlikely path. Recall backers would’ve had to surmount an enormous numerical deficit in both registered voters and fundraising. And the final numbers show how little the anti-Newsom campaign did to significantly shift the political landscape.
THE NEXT ONE: An effort to recall progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin will likely go before voters, as organizers submitted roughly 32,000 more raw signatures than needed to qualify, the SF Chronicle reports. And that effort is drawing in progressives, such as a fed-up former S.F. prosecutor who left the “sinking ship” of Boudin’s office.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Monday morning. We hope you managed to stay dry and safe this weekend as a bomb cyclone-atmospheric river combination of hyperbolic weather pounded much of California. We need rain to alleviate a worsening drought, but all that precipitation brings a host of other hazards. And our condolences to Dodgers fans, who saw the remaining champs fall just short of the World Series as they fell to the Braves in six innings.
A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! — Carla here with some personal news. Six years after launching POLITICO’s California Playbook in October 2015, I’ll be wrapping up my last Playbook this Friday. It’s been a dream gig, and a dream to have been able to reach your breakfast table every day with the news of the Golden State. After reporting on California for 40 years, mostly at daily newspapers, my time at POLITICO has allowed me to work with this amazing group of editors and reporters, covering some of the most dramatic developments in state and national political history.
But this isn’t the end of that adventure. I’m heading off for several months of sabbatical, for travel and study in the U.S. and abroad. But I do plan on returning as a POLITICO contributor on California politics in 2022.
A big thanks to POLITICO executive editor Joe Schatz, who always supported the dream of growing POLITICO California; to my awesome editors Angela Greiling Keane and Ryan Hutchins, and especially our fearless leader at POLITICO California, editor Kevin Yamamura.
Rest assured, POLITICO’s California Playbook will continue to be your daily must-read briefing on the state, with my incredible colleague Jeremy B. White at the helm. And POLITICO is looking for another Playbook reporter to continue making this California’s best political newsletter.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “To me integrity means doing what you say you’ll do. This party cannot claim that it believes Black Lives Matter and put that sign in its window and then allow police association money to flow in through the back door.” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza urges the California Democratic Party to refuse law enforcement donations. More on the vote below.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Meteorologist Daniel Swain @Weather_West on those storms: “Expecting countless daily rainfall records, probably quite a few October monthly records, and possibly even some all-time single day rainfall records to fall today across portions of NorCal (and western NV). This definitely qualifies as an extreme precipitation event!! #CAwx”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
BALDWIN SHOOTING ACCIDENT — “‘Rust’ crew describes on-set gun safety issues and misfires days before fatal shooting,” by the LA Times’ Meg James and Amy Kaufman: “Safety protocols standard in the industry, including gun inspections, were not strictly followed on the ‘Rust’ set near Santa Fe, the sources said. They said at least one of the camera operators complained last weekend to a production manager about gun safety on the set.”
— “Warrant: Baldwin didn’t know weapon contained live round,” by the AP’s Morgan Lee, Susan Montotya Bryan and Cedar Attanasio.
— “As immigration advocates demand Newsom cancel contract with border wall company, lawmakers stay silent,” by Capital Public Radio’s Scott Rodd: “A recent CapRadio investigation revealed the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) awarded the no-bid contract to a subsidiary of SLSCO, a company that earned hundreds of millions of dollars building walls along California’s southern border.”
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH — “Every woman should have access to breast cancer screening,” argues Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez in the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I want every woman to have the life-saving opportunity that I did.”
THE FACEBOOK PAPERS — Facebook documents offer a treasure trove for Washington’s antitrust war, by POLITICO’s Leah Nylen: Previously unpublished reports and presentations collected by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen show in granular detail how the world’s largest social network views its power in the market, at a moment when it faces growing pressure from governments in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. The documents portray Facebook employees touting its dominance in their internal presentations — contradicting the company’s own public assertions and providing potential fuel for antitrust authorities and lawmakers scrutinizing the social network’s sway over the market.
— ‘This is NOT normal’: Facebook employees vent their anguish, by POLITICO’s John Hendel.
— Inside Facebook’s struggle to contain insurrectionists’ posts, by POLITICO’s Alexandra S. Levine.
MORE FACEBOOK — “Internal Alarm, Public Shrugs: Facebook’s Employees Dissect Its Election Role,” by NYT’s Ryan Mac and Sheera Frenkel: “In each case, Facebook’s employees sounded an alarm about misinformation and inflammatory content on the platform and urged action — but the company failed or struggled to address the issues.”
— “Facebook Increasingly Suppresses Political Movements It Deems Dangerous,” by WSJ’s Jeff Horwitz and Justin Scheck: “By taking on the role of refereeing public discourse, Facebook has strayed from the public commitment to neutrality long espoused by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.”
CADEM MONEY: The California Democratic Party moved on Sunday to delay until February a vote on whether to reject campaign donations from law enforcement and fossil fuel groups, including utilities. Activists pushed for a vote, arguing the party must renounce interests that stymie its agenda in Sacramento, but party officials like vice chair and state Controller Betty Yee successfully argued for studying the issue for another 120 days and refusing the money in the interim. A majority of delegates backed leadership.
That dealt a defeat to activists who wanted to cut off that collectively gave the party more than $2 million last cycle while spreading even more around legislative races. Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Rev. Wanda Johnson, whose son Oscar Grant was killed by BART police, urged Democrats to reject police money; a Sunrise Movement teenager who was among those virally confronting Sen. Dianne Feinstein argued for a ban on fossil fuel money.
PLACING BETS: Card room operators have dropped more than $3 million more into a committee set to battle Native American tribes over sports wagering, bringing its total to more than $9 million. Blackstone Gaming and the Bicycle Hotel & Casino each contributed another $1 million as the California Commerce Club, Inc. added $1.025 million.
— “How Surfing Became the Key to Orange County’s Political Future,” by Bloomberg’s Gregory Korte: “California’s mapmakers will soon decide whether to keep the district as a coastal enclave or to redraw the map so coastal towns are joined with areas further inland.”
WORKFORCE WOES — “California’s Economic Recovery Slows Down in September as Job Growth Lags,” by KQED’s Adam Beam: “California is now tied with Nevada for the highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.5% after adding just 47,400 new jobs last month, according to data released Friday.”
— “Thousands of state workers are unvaccinated. California isn’t testing half of them for COVID as required,” by the LA Times’ Melody Gutierrez:“Three months after Gov. Gavin Newsom required state workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing, his pledge that California government would lead by example has not been fulfilled: Many public agencies face low vaccination rates, and most state-run workplaces have failed to test unvaccinated employees.”
EDUCATION RIGHTS — “Don’t like your kid’s school? Initiative would give California parents power to sue for change,” by The Sac Bee’s Lara Korte: “The proposed initiative, called the Constitutional Right to a High-Quality Public Education Act, would amend the [California] constitution to assert that all students have the right to a high-quality public education that ‘provides them with the skills necessary to fully participate in the economy, our democracy, and our society.'”
— “California rejected 6% of medical exemptions for school vaccinations this year, in hint of fight ahead,” by the SF Chronicle’s Alexei Koseff: “The revocations, which reflect a tension that may grow in coming years, came under a new law that seeks to crack down on suspected abuse in the process for forgoing the immunizations that every California student must get.”
— “California can require correctional officers to get COVID vaccine, judge rules,” by the Sac Bee’s Hannah Wiley and Wes Venteicher: But: “Judge Bernard Barmann’s ruling affects only correctional officers who work in or around health care settings in prisons.”
— “Tesla succeeded because of California, not in spite of it,” opines Office of Business and Economic Development Director Dee Dee Myers in the Mercury News: “Like the countless other companies — from powerhouses such as Apple and Google, to the startups whose new ideas might someday change the world — Tesla’s founders brought their dreams here because of the state’s unique assets.”
— “A solution for gentrification in South L.A.? ‘Don’t sell your damn house!’” by the LA Times’ Erika D. Smith: There is “a small but growing group of Black Angelenos who, though torn, prefer to see what’s happening in South L.A. as an opportunity. One that if seized by enough Black people could lead to an unprecedented transfer of generational wealth and, by extension, slow the pace of gentrification.”
— “Inside the fossil fuel divestment movement at Cal State,” by the Sac Bee’s Stephanie Zappelli: “The CSU, the largest four-year public university system in the country, joins more than 60 United States colleges and universities that have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies, including the University of California in 2019 and Harvard University this year.”
EEK! — “Rain is about to set off the ‘tick time bomb’ in California,” by SFGATE’s Ashley Harrell.
— “On front lines of L.A.’s homicide spike, these detectives race to solve mounting caseloads,” by the LA Times’ Kevin Rector.
ALLEZ: Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Douglas Emhoff are headed to Paris in November, where Harris will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and attend the Paris Peace Forum and the Paris Conference on Libya.
FAMILIAR FACES — “In the Company of Wes Anderson,” by NYT’s Melena Ryzik: “His cast and crew often take up a local hotel, and dine together, too; his post-shoot feasts are a creative’s fantasy.”
— California’s legal weed industry can’t compete with illicit market, by POLITICO’s Alexander Nieves: Rather than make cannabis a Main Street fixture, California’s strict regulations have led most industry operators to close shop, flee the state or sell in the state’s illegal market that approaches $8 billion annually, twice the volume of legal sales.
— “Robert Durst charged with murdering first wife, Kathie, in New York,” by the LA Times’ James Queally.
120 A YEAR? — “Lyft releases sexual assault data: 4,158 incidents, including 360 rape reports over three year period,” by CNN’s Sara Ashley O’Brien.
— “Silicon Valley Giants Built an Open Culture. Now Workers Are Holding Them to It,” by WSJ’s Katherine Bindley: “Workers say the number of their colleagues who are disillusioned and speaking out is a small minority that is growing and getting louder.”
YAY! — “Pismo Beach butterfly grove sees 3,500% increase in monarch count. ‘We’re thrilled,’” by the SLO Tribune’s Mackenzie Shuman.
RELAX, SOMA — “No, Target is not closing its San Francisco Metreon store on Mission Street,” by the SF Chronicle’s Dominic Fracassa.
— “Klay Thompson Finally Found Love. With His Boat,” by NYT’s Scott Cacciola.
— “L.A.’s memorial for 1871 Chinese Massacre will mark a shift in how we honor history,” by the LA Times’ Carolina A. Miranda.
SUNDAY: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) … Tony Podesta … former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) … Deadline’s Ted Johnson … Trevor Engelson … Kenneth Tuchman … Matt Lehrich of Be Clear
SATURDAY: ACLU’s Vikrum Aiyer … Amazon’s Linda Thomas
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