California Governor Newsom defeats Republican-led impeachment effort, US television networks.

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Californians voted overwhelmingly to keep their governor Democratic on Tuesday, roundly rejecting a Republican attempt to impeach him in a special recall vote fueled by masked mandates and Covid shutdowns.

Gavin Newsom comfortably survived an effective vote of confidence that could have seen him replaced by a Republican with only minority support in one of the more liberal parts of the United States.

With more than 60 percent of the votes counted, NBC and CNN said Newsom would prevail, having obtained about two-thirds of the votes.

Millions of people voted by mail, allowing a quick count of valid votes shortly after the polls closed at 0300 GMT.

Newsom had proudly boasted that he was following the science by ordering Californians to stay home during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the businessmen blamed him for smothering their businesses with his rules, and the parents made fun of him that their children did not go to school.

The vote had been eagerly watched by politicians across the deeply divided country as a possible indicator of how incumbents who listened to doctors, rather than angry voters, would fare at the polls.

Newsom’s main opponent was Larry Elder, 69, a right-wing talkative radio star who has spoken proudly of his support for former President Donald Trump.

Before the polls even closed, Elder pulled a page out of Trump’s playbook for the 2020 election, launching a website alleging voter fraud and demanding that state officials “investigate and improve the twisted results.” of the elections.

The vote was a two-part referendum, with the first asking whether the 53-year-old Newsom should remain in office.

The second, which only came into play if the majority wanted him out, asked which of the 46 candidates should take his place.

Traditional politicians vied with a YouTube star, a “Billboard Queen” and Caitlyn Jenner, a member of the Kardashian clan, for the loot.

‘Get rid’

The impeachment initiative, which has cost the state about $ 280 million, is one of 55 such efforts to depose a governor in state history.

For the most part, they have gone nowhere, but the pandemic measures imposed by Newsom fueled this attempt.

The petition to evict him was accelerated after he was caught dining at a fancy restaurant, apparently in violation of his own Covid-19 rules, fueling the perception that he was an out-of-touch hypocrite.

Mary Beth, a 63-year-old business owner who cast her vote Tuesday in Los Angeles, said she voted to “get rid of Newsom” because “the virus created chaos in our economy, but made it even worse with its shutdowns. “.

“There were other ways to handle that and he should have made business the priority,” he said.

Another pro-withdrawal voter told AFP that he wanted someone not to impose vaccination mandates, a hot topic across the divided United States.

“I firmly believe that we have to get rid of our governor because I think he is a corrupt democrat, like the people we have in the federal government and we need them,” said Farid Efraim.

“We need someone who really represents the people.”

Democrats complain that the Republican-led impeachment was an attempt to hijack the state government – taking power in extraordinary circumstances when they could never do so on a regular ballot.

A Spectrum News and IPSOS poll published before the results were announced found that two-thirds of registered voters viewed the withdrawal as a political takeover.

‘Ridiculous’

California electoral rules establish a low level of impeachment.

The disgruntled only need to collect signatures equal to 12 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election – in this case, 1.5 million.

California’s population is around 40 million.

“This whole recall is ridiculous,” said Jake, a 38-year-old tech worker, who declined to give his last name.

“I did the math and even if all registered voters turn out, it would cost more than $ 12 per vote,” he said.

“A lot of people could have had that for breakfast this morning.”

Vance Hagins said the recall process was an abuse.

“There are 40 people running for governor, half of them are crazy and have no chance of winning, but their names are on the ballot, which wastes our time,” he said.

California’s only successful retirement brought bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the presidency in 2003.

“The governor,” who ended up running the state for more than seven years, was the last Republican chief executive of California.

(AFP)