New Gavin Newsom Ad Says Recall Outcome Is 'Matter of Life and Death'

The outcome of next month's California gubernatorial recall election will be "a matter of life and death" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to an ad Governor Gavin Newsom's campaign released Monday.

The ad contrasted Newsom's approach to implementing vaccine requirements with that of his top Republican challenger, the conservative radio host Larry Elder.

As numbers of new virus infections rose in California with the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, Newsom announced a vaccine mandate for health care workers and last week implemented a similar mandate for teachers and school staff as children began returning to their classrooms for in-person instruction. While Newsom's Stop the Republican Recall campaign said in the ad the Democrat was "protecting California," it said Elder was encouraging "deadly" conspiracy theories.

"What's at stake in the September 14 recall? It's a matter of life and death," a narrator says at the beginning of the 30-second ad.

Gavin Newsom recall ad
Gavin Newsom's campaign released a new ad on Monday that said the outcome of California's upcoming gubernatorial recall election will be a "matter of life and death" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Above, Newsom speaks during a news conference at Manny's in San Francisco on August 13. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The ad later shows Elder posing with former President Donald Trump for a photo in which both men are seen giving a thumbs-up. It also displays a screenshot of an August 10 tweet in which Elder said California will have no mask or vaccine mandates if he is elected to replace Newsom.

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, this recall election is a matter of life and death.

GOP front-runner Larry Elder says he would repeal every vaccine mandate on his first day in office.

Watch our new ad and VOTE NO by September 14.

— StopTheRepublicanRecall (@StopRepRecall) August 16, 2021

The ad refers to Elder as the "top Republican candidate" in the September 14 recall election and said Elder "peddled deadly conspiracy theories and would eliminate vaccine mandates on Day One, threatening school closures and our recovery."

It concludes by encouraging California voters to "stop the spread" and vote against removing Newsom from office.

The ad serves as the latest example of the Newsom campaign drawing comparisons between the Democrat and Elder. In one fundraising email distributed last week, Newsom's campaign said Elder was "an anti-vax conspiracy spreader—not the guy you want in office while Delta rages" and identified Elder as "the guy who will become governor if Gavin Newsom loses this recall."

Newsom further targeted Elder during a campaign event on August 13, in which he said Elder was "to the right" of Trump.

Recent polls indicate Elder has been leading the group of Republican recall challengers since he launched his campaign last month. Elder is one of 46 candidates who will appear on the recall election ballot, 24 of whom are listed as Republicans.

If more than 50 percent of California voters cast their ballots in favor of removing Newsom from office, he will be replaced by the recall candidate who receives the greatest number of votes. This is the second gubernatorial recall election to take place in the state's history, the first of which resulted in the ouster of Democrat Gray Davis in 2003.

Like many other recall candidates, Elder has been critical of Newsom's handling of the pandemic and push for vaccinations. Following Newsom's vaccine mandate for school employees, Elder said in an August 11 tweet a "Gov. Elder" would reverse it. He later added in a statement shared with Newsweek that he believed vaccination decisions should be "a matter of choice."

When contacted for comment about Newsom's new campaign ad, Elder's campaign said the "constant attacks" on Elder suggest Newsom's team is worried he will lose the recall election.

"The ad is correct: This is indeed a matter of life and death," said Ying Ma, the communications director for Elder's campaign. "Under Gavin Newsom's watch, California has been plagued by crime, homelessness, the rising cost of living, uncontrollable wildfires, water shortages, and dictatorial COVID edicts. An entire historic city recently burned to the ground in the still raging Dixie Fire, as water was shut off to thousands of farmers across the state."

Ma continued: "Meanwhile, unions representing firefighters, front-line workers and working class men and women Newsom does not care about vehemently oppose vaccine mandates that he and his billionaire friends love. The constant attacks on Larry Elder reveal not just the Newsom camp's inability to defend his abysmal record but also their fear that Newsom will be kicked out of office very soon."

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