By Ed Kilgore | Originally Posted on NYMAG
The long-shot Republican effort to recall California governor Gavin Newsom got a jolt of energy this week as popular conservative radio talk-show host Larry Elder joined the field (which officially closed on Friday) of “replacement candidates” who are competing for the job if voters give the incumbent the boot. Veteran California political observer George Skelton is among those who think Elder may immediately jump to the top of the nearly 80 candidates who qualified for the second ballot question in the September 14 recall election. (The first is whether Newsom should be removed from office, and the second, which only matters if the first is answered affirmatively by a majority of voters, is who should then become governor):
Elder is well-known among conservatives because his nationally syndicated, three-hour talk show is broadcast daily in L.A., San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and several smaller California cities. He’s heard in all 50 states in 200 markets, with a national audience of 1.5 million.
He also has 2.5 million followers on social media.
So he has high California name ID and a national fundraising base. He’s also not exactly a cookie-cutter right-wing gabber; he supported Trump in 2020 but has a libertarian-ish background. And as a longtime Black Republican figure who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, he is neither an opportunist nor a stuffed-shirt country-club type.
Until Elder’s entry into the race, the top Republican replacement prospect was former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has a moderate reputation but backed Trump’s reelection. Noisier but less viable Republicans included near-perennial candidate John Cox, who was trounced by Newsom in the 2018 general election.