Larry Elder Concedes California Recall Election as Voter Fraud Plan Goes Up in Smoke

Republican California recall election challenger Larry Elder has conceded to Governor Gavin Newsom, despite having previously peddled "baseless" claims of voter fraud before polls closed.

As incoming results continued to favor Newsom, Elder addressed supporters at his campaign headquarters, conceding the race to the incumbent Democrat.

Speaking on Tuesday night, the conservative talk radio host told a crowd, disgruntled that he called Newsom "Governor," that his campaign had lost.

He said: "Come on, let's be gracious in defeat. And by the way, we may have lost the battle but we are going to win the war."

The crowd then erupted into applause and cheers, hopeful for a Republican victory in the future.

It was a bitterly disappointing night for Republicans who squandered their chance to capitalize on Newsom's unpopular handling of the pandemic earlier this year.

Newsom comfortably saw off his opponents and is on course to seek a second term in the 2022 California gubernatorial election.

Elder's admission of defeat stood in stark contrast to earlier unfounded claims he had made that the election had been rigged against him.

On Monday, Elder flirted with accusing the Democrats of voter fraud, telling MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff: "I think we should be looking at election integrity.

"No matter whether you're a Democrat, an independent or a Republican. Let's all make sure that the election is a fair election. So let's all work together. No matter what the results are, to make sure that the results are valid and legitimate and everybody who voted should have voted."

He then ignored Soboroff's follow-up questions about whether he would accept the results of the election.

In a link on his campaign website, Elder encouraged people to report cases of supposed election fraud and claimed voting irregularities had occurred "resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor," despite polls not having even opened.

The website "Stop Ca Fraud," which had been partly paid for by Elder's campaign team, also asked visitors to sign a petition

As of Wednesday morning, the link to the election fraud page had been removed from Elder's campaign website.

Newsweek has contacted Elder's campaign team for comment.

Yesterday, the California Secretary of State said Elder's claims of voter fraud were "baseless."

A statement sent to Newsweek read: "California leads the way in election security and work to infuse transparency into every step of the process by making our election processes open to the public, every step of the way.

"To counter baseless claims like these, our office and county elections officials work day in and day out to provide accessible, accurate information to the public to protect voters from misinformation and unsubstantiated allegations of 'fraud' that might lead them to believe their vote doesn't matter—when it does."

Newsom win California recall election Elder 2022
Larry Elder conceded defeat in Tuesday's California recall election. In this photo, Elder speaks to the media after casting his ballot September 8, 2021 in the special recall election, outside a polling location in Los Angeles, California. Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty