The Trumpiest of Republican candidates in September's gubernatorial recall in California, Larry Elder, has just announced that he will not run again for governor in 2022 — which means Gavin Newsom is unlikely to face any viable competition for reelection.
"I ran for Governor because I wanted to make a difference,” Elder said in a statement Tuesday. "While I may not know what the future holds for me politically, our campaign’s ability to attract millions of votes and millions of dollars in a very short time demonstrates we have a message that resonates with Americans, and I believe we can put that to good use."
Does this signal that Elder's going to run for a Congressional seat or something? Maybe. And in a red or purple district that's at least something he has a chance of winning — and the clue is that he's launching a PAC to raise funds for Republican congressional candidates.
It may be overstating things to call Larry Elder truly viable in a general election in this very blue state. Though back in August and September, Elder was showing some scarily decent numbers in public polling — polling which, it turns out, was somewhat of an undercount in terms of anti-Gavin sentiment.
Still, the wave of anti-Gavin, pro-Larry sentiment across the state had some Democratic strategists nervous, and of the votes for a replacement governor, Elder took 48.4% of the vote — keeping in mind that 62% of voters voted "No" on the recall, so this was a moot point.
There remained the open question about what would happen if an actually popular Republican tried to run for governor with ample time to campaign, etc.
Elder has likely taken some advice to not bother with such a run, because of the extraordinary odds against him — and many strategists repeated through much of last year that even with motivated Republicans trying to outnumber Dems in the recall, a Republican win was still a long shot in a state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by nearly two to one.
And Trump, whom Elder vocally supported, remains toxic in California, and any fan of his is going to motivate many anti-Trump voters to rush to the polls just to vote against a Trumper.
Couple all this with how out of step Elder is with most voters nationwide, let alone in California — despite being Black, for instance, he toes the Fox News party line about systemic racism not existing — and he really didn't stand much of a chance anyway.
So, good riddance! We don't need to hear from him anymore unless we choose to tune in to his right-wing, malarkey-filled radio show.
Top image: Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images