Newsom: Local democrats are happy with the results of the statewide recall election. Santa Monica Democratic Club

With early polls showing a nail biting or Republican-led race, local Democratic leaders breathed a collective sigh of relief when recall results rapidly indicated a landslide victory for Governor Newsom.

The Daily Press spoke with four prominent local Democrats about the results and their thoughts on the implications for our systems of democracy and local recall campaigns.

Sue Himmelrich, Mayor

Our hard work in Santa Monica to stop the misguided recall effort was rewarded with our big victory last night. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the hard work of restoring a safety net for those less fortunate, addressing the challenges of global warming, and creating the truly progressive government we wish we had in the State of California.

Anastasia Foster, Rent Control Commissioner

I breathed a sigh of relief when the local news posted the first returns. Any different result would have been tragic for California and for Santa Monica and, truly, for the whole country to see the 6th largest economy in the world fall into the hands of a talk show host who is not qualified to lead.

The recall process is flawed and needs a ballot measure to fix it on the 2022 ballot. An egregious violation of ethics or laws should warrant a recall, but not just sour grapes and another bite at the apple in the form of an outrageously expensive recall election.

Newsom’s landslide win tells me that California’s Democratic voice and principles are ringing loud and clear. I hope the other team will accept the results and not further the junk that has been dividing our nation, our cities and even our families and friendships.

Sion Roy, Santa Monica College Board Member, AD-50 Assemblymember Candidate

I feel relieved today that Californians sent a strong message of support for the Governor and his policies, particularly in regards to COVID. Governor Newsom has consistently put the health and safety of all Californians first during this pandemic, and it is heartening that we overwhelmingly rejected this cynical recall that would have taken our state backwards and put the health and safety of Californians at risk.

We are seeing recalls up and down the state in both local and state level elections. Recalls are ideally meant to protect democracy where if an elected official does something so egregious, it gives citizens a right to challenge them. However, in California, the system is instead being used to challenge elected officials cynically to force special elections that typically have lower voter turnout and manipulate the voting process.

We must take a long and hard look at our recall process both to save Californians their hard earned tax dollars, but also to make sure that our democracy is as inclusive as possible, holding elections on traditional dates so more voters have input.

Jon Katz, President of Santa Monica Democratic Club

My best case scenario was that the no vote would be close to the 2018 results and it seems right now that Newsom may have beaten the 2018 results, which is pretty amazing, so I’m pretty thrilled with the results today. The turnout was way better than anybody had predicted, outperforming the polls, outperforming expectations.

We (the Santa Monica Democratic Club) got into gear up two months ago, when we saw the polls were really close and we weren’t quite sure what the plan was for the Newsom campaign. We started out very early on with canvassing, going door-to-door in Santa Monica, finding Democratic voters, leaving literature and having conversations with the voters.

We really ramped up our efforts and the state party really ramped up their efforts and within a few weeks we were starting to hear much more positive responses from people who were now aware of the election, they knew about Larry Elder, they had an understanding of the undemocratic and unconstitutional nature of the recall election format.

We saw a really strong increase in awareness from the average voter who may be only voting every four years. The only way we were going to loose was if we didn’t get those voters involved.

Clara@smdp.com