Newsom Challengers Praise California GOP's Decision Not to Endorse Any Recall Election Candidate

Some of the Republican challengers of California Governor Gavin Newsom are praising the state GOP's decision to not endorse any candidate to replace the governor, should voters decide to remove him in the recall election next month.

California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement the decision "speaks to the strength" of the candidates.

The election has drawn several challengers, including talk show host Larry Elder, Businessman John Cox; reality television star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner; former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer; State Assembly Member Kevin Kiley; and former U.S. Congressman Doug Ose.

"We are squarely focused on putting California back on track by recalling the worst governor in California history," Patterson said in the statement, which was posted to Twitter.

Elder, Faulconer, Kiley, and Ose all qualified for the nomination. Nearly 90 percent of delegates supported the motion to endorse a candidate.

Candidates took to Twitter to express their support for the decision. Ose said the party should focus on the recall.

"My compliments to Chairwoman Patterson for figuring out how to allow Republican delegates the option of No Endorsement," Ose said in a tweet. "The Party needs to focus on Question 1. Let's get this done!"

Cox said on Twitter said he is "glad the delegates kept the focus" on recalling Newsom.

And in his statement, Kiley commented that "all candidates are on the same team as we make the case that California deserves so much better than Gavin Newsom," the Associated Press reported.

Newsweek reached out to the California Republican Party and Newsom for comment, but had not heard back by publication.

Larry Elder
Larry Elder was one candidate who qualified for the California GOP’s endorsement in the race to replace Governor Gavin Newsom. Here, he is pictured at at the Inform Your Vote President Election Debate at The Tabernacle in Inglewood on Oct. 8, 2016. Todd Williamson/WireImage/Getty Images

On September 14, California voters will go to the polls to answer two questions. The first asks whether or not they want to recall Newsom, and the second asks who they wish to replace him with.

Members of the Republican National Convention previously asked the state party to refrain from endorsing a candidate.

"The polls are showing that the recall is in a statistical tie and we cannot afford to discourage voters who are passionate about a particular candidate, yet may not vote because their favored candidate didn't receive the endorsement," two members, Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel, wrote in a letter to delegates.

The email added: "Any of our GOP candidates would be superior to Gavin Newsom. We believe that the voters should decide his replacement, which will not only ensure a higher turnout of recall proponents but give Newsom's successor the best chance of reelection in 2022."

Polls indicate the recall election in the usually-heavily Democratic state is closer than expected. An Emerson College poll released last week showed Newsom held a narrow two-point lead on the first ballot question. The poll also indicated the race is tightening ahead of the election on September 14, as Newsom held a three-point lead in March and a five-point lead in July.

Elder received the most support to replace Newsom in the poll, as 23 percent of voters said they would back him. Cox and Jenner followed, each receiving 7 percent of support. However, 40 percent said they were still undecided.

Some Democratic Party leaders worry their voters may be complacent ahead of the election, believing Newsom will easily win the election, as he did in his 2018 election, when he defeated Cox with nearly 62 percent of the vote.