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By Allysia Finliey | Originally Posted on Wall Street Journal

What are the odds that California would elect a conservative Republican governor in the 2020s? Slim to none, one might have said. But that was before Larry Elder entered the room.

When the California Patriot Coalition launched an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom in February 2020, their effort looked hopeless. It still seemed implausible in April 2021, when the secretary of state certified that the effort had enough signatures to trigger a vote. Most polls showed a majority or a substantial plurality opposing the recall, and no other high-profile Democrat entered the race to succeed Mr. Newsom if he is recalled. There was little enthusiasm for the Republicans who’d joined the race, including Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and John Cox, who lost to Mr. Newsom in 2018.

But suddenly it’s a contest. Ballots for the Sept. 14 vote will start being mailed in the coming weeks, and three recent polls show Mr. Newsom is vulnerable. An Inside California Politics/Emerson poll this week found that only 48% of registered voters would vote to keep Mr. Newsom in office while 46% would remove him, within the margin of error. On Wednesday Survey USA released a poll that showed Mr. Newsom losing the recall vote, 51% to 40%.

What are the odds that California would elect a conservative Republican governor in the 2020s? Slim to none, one might have said. But that was before Larry Elder entered the room.

When the California Patriot Coalition launched an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom in February 2020, their effort looked hopeless. It still seemed implausible in April 2021, when the secretary of state certified that the effort had enough signatures to trigger a vote. Most polls showed a majority or a substantial plurality opposing the recall, and no other high-profile Democrat entered the race to succeed Mr. Newsom if he is recalled. There was little enthusiasm for the Republicans who’d joined the race, including Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and John Cox, who lost to Mr. Newsom in 2018.

But suddenly it’s a contest. Ballots for the Sept. 14 vote will start being mailed in the coming weeks, and three recent polls show Mr. Newsom is vulnerable. An Inside California Politics/Emerson poll this week found that only 48% of registered voters would vote to keep Mr. Newsom in office while 46% would remove him, within the margin of error. On Wednesday Survey USA released a poll that showed Mr. Newsom losing the recall vote, 51% to 40%.

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