A host of heavy-hitting Democrats is expected to lend their mugs and voices to ads for the "No" campaign in the California recall, and a 30-second ad featuring Senator Elizabeth Warren is already airing in the hope of getting out the Dem vote.
The primary aim of the "No" campaign right now is to get as many Californians as possible to mail in ballots or show up at the polls on September 14, but specifically they want more Democrats to realize that there's a risk to Newsom and their votes are needed. A poll out last week showed that Newsom is more vulnerable than he should be among "likely" voters in the recall, with Democratic apathy largely to blame. Only 53% of likely voters polled said they would vote "no" in the recall, with 47% saying they'll vote yes — even though broader polling of the state shows over 60% of people against the recall.
The main tactic being used to motivate Democratic voters is linking the recall proponents to Trump, and calling this "the Republican recall" of Newsom — both of which Warren does in her ad.
"We've seen Trump Republicans across the country attacking election results and the right to vote," Warren says. "Now they're coming to grab power in California, abusing the recall process, and costing taxpayers millions... Stop the Republican recall."
More heavy-hitting Democrats are likely to step in to do similar ads and even campaign, as Bay Area News Group reports. Political analysts say they wouldn't be surprised if Barack and Michelle Obama lend their support, and both Senator Bernie Sanders and President Joe Biden could be seen in upcoming ads as well. Vice President Kamala Harris, a longtime friend and colleague of Newsom's, has already said she will campaign on his behalf.
As the Associated Press reports, the Trump connection will be tough to shake for most of the leading candidates to replace Newsom, including Kevin Faulconer, John Cox, and Larry Elder, who were all vocal supporters of the former president. The AP notes that Republicans have been excited about retaking the governor's office in California, comparing the heavily blue state to places like Vermont and Massachusetts which have recently elected Republican governors. But those are anti-Trump Republicans, and that's probably the key difference.
Newsom continues to have a major cash advantage over the likes of Faulconer, Cox, and the rest, with a campaign war chest of $40 million and counting to fight the recall effort, largely from donations from wealthy tech execs and labor unions.
The recall election is now six weeks away, on September 14, and mail-in ballots will be mailed out August 16. If the "Yes" side wins a simple majority of over 50%, Newsom will be recalled. A second question on the ballot asks for everyone, whether they voted yes or no, whom they would choose for governor if the recall succeeds, and they'll be choosing from a list of 46 names, the vast majority of whom are not household names. These include a hairstylist, a cannabis policy adviser, a software engineer, a "free speech lawyer" and 70-year-old entertainer and billboard maven Angelyne.