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By Jason L. Riley | Originally posted on Wall Street Journal.

Why shouldn’t a conservative Republican like Larry Elder be leading the race to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom?

Mr. Elder is an attorney, bestselling author, documentary filmmaker and successful talk-radio host who was born and raised in Los Angeles. True, he’s an amateur when it comes to electoral politics, but look at what the professionals like Mr. Newsom, a liberal Democrat, have done to the most populous state.

Crime has climbed in California’s largest cities, while left-wing district attorneys compete to determine who can prosecute the fewest miscreants. The state’s homelessness rate is third highest in the country after Hawaii and New York, and it’s rising, which might have something to do with heavy-handed zoning restrictions and environmental regulations that limit the construction of affordable housing. Californians pay energy bills that are significantly higher than the national average and well above what customers pay in neighboring states like Oregon. Yet millions of residents experienced rolling blackouts in 2019 when a state utility purposely cut off power to avoid wildfires caused by outdated electric lines. And that’s what life was like in this progressive Eden before the pandemic.

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