Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder announced his intention earlier this year to place his name on a crowded ballot of possible candidates to replace Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom if he is recalled.
California voters gathered enough votes to initiate the recall election under California law, only the second gubernatorial recall election in the state’s history. The election is scheduled for September 14. Voters will be asked first on a yes or no basis whether Gov. Newsom should be recalled from office. They then will vote for one candidate to replace him for the remainder of his term should he be placed.
When Elder filed to be on the recall ballot, state elections officials refused to accept his candidacy, claiming that Elder pointed to incomplete tax information they alleged was required. Elder contested that decision with the state, stating that he filed the required paperwork. The state refused to change its decision.
Elder filed a lawsuit to be placed on the ballot. On July 21, Superior Court Judge Laurie M. Earl determined that Elder’s documentation met the statutory requirements and that he should be placed on the ballot.
The court rejected the state’s contention that Elder was required to file tax filings under a 2019 state statute mandating candidates in a “direct primary election” to do so. Because the election is a recall election, it is classified as a special election rather than a direct primary under the law.
Elder praised the decision and said the state was motivated to exclude him because of the Democrats’ belief that he is the biggest threat to Newsom at the recall election.
He told Fox News in an interview, “I believe that Gavin Newsom targeted Larry Elder to keep me off the ballot because I believe I’m the only one that he’s afraid of. I know a lot of politicians say stuff like that, but in my case, it happens to be true.”
Elder went on to say that California Democrats are “scared to death” of his campaign.
On the day following the court’s decision, a poll from Inside California Politics and Emerson College showed Elder with a ten-point lead on the closest Republican in the field. If Newsom is recalled, the candidate with the most votes wins the election for the remainder of the term, whether or not they receive a majority vote.