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By Eric Ting | Originally Posted on SFGATE

Elder’s poll and fundraising numbers indicate strength beyond simple name recognition, and if California Democrats who vote “no” on the ballot’s first question (Should Newsom be recalled?) follow the Newsom team’s guidance and leave question two (who should replace Newsom?) blank, they could very well get Gov. Larry Elder should Newsom lose on question one.

Newsom went after Elder directly last week — the first time he has acknowledged an individual candidate running to replace him — painting him as someone who “thinks climate change is a hoax, believes we need more offshore oil drilling, more fracking, does not believe a woman has the right to choose [and] actually came out against Roe v. Wade, does not believe in a minimum wage.”

In an interview with SFGATE, Elder said he believes Newsom’s characterizations as an extremist are unfair. He said he believes in climate change (but isn’t sure how much it is contributing to worsening wildfires), is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and encourages all eligible residents to get vaccinated, (which separates him from fellow Republican candidate John Cox), though he opposes vaccine mandates like the one Newsom rolled out two weeks ago.

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