California voters headed to the polls Tuesday to cast final ballots in an election focused on whether Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom should be allowed to keep his job.
Voters were asked whether Newsom should remain in his position and, if so, who should take his place. There are dozens of candidates for the seat, many of which are Republicans.
Californians cast their votes in recent weeks by mailing or dropping off their ballots at designated locations. Others voted Tuesday, the last day of voting.
Here are some of their stories:
Erica Taylor, 47, works at San Francisco’s Department of Public Health and said she voted against the recall, which she found to be a waste of money.
She stated that she supports Newsom, and enjoys the way he handled the pandemic.
“Politicians, at the end the day, are people. She said that although they are placed on a pedestal, underneath all of this we are all human and make mistakes.
Taylor, a native San Franciscan, said she supports Newsom from the beginning of his political career in the City.
She said that she had worked with Newsom at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium doing Project Homeless Connect.
Maricela Ruiz, 43, is a Democrat who voted against the recall. Ruiz indicated that she voted for Jacqueline McGowan, a cannabis consultant, to replace Newsom in the event of a recall.
Outside a Montecito Heights Senior Citizen Center polling station, the caregiver from Los Angeles said that she wanted Democrats to “continue in California.”
Ruiz stated her primary concern is homelessness. But, Ruiz believes Newsom is doing his best to make the streets safer.
To get new ideas, Ruiz is open to the possibility of another Democrat challenging Newsom 2022.
She claimed she has heard conspiracy theories regarding the integrity of the election, but does not believe them. “It is very silly,” she stated.
Bradley Pierce, 21, voted against recalling Newsom at a high school in San Diego in a diverse neighborhood with a large refugee population.
Pierce, who is a student at San Diego State University studying education, said that he was “unnerved” by the possibility of someone who supports a more conservative agenda being elected governor.
In the unlikely event that Newsom is recalled, he said he had not checked any box to nominate a candidate. He stated that the Democrats who are seeking to replace him have very little experience.
Pierce stated that he believes Newsom has managed the pandemic well. Pierce also likes Newsom’s promises to address homelessness and improve public education in the state.
Joe Cusumano, 77, who is a registered Democrat but has voted Republican in recent years, wants a new governor.
According to the San Diego barber, his feelings towards Newsom are similar to those of President Joe Biden. He said, “They don’t know how delegate power.” “Newsom still has much to learn.”
Cusumano cut Kevin Faulconer’s hair when he was mayor of San Diego. He described Faulconer as a San Diego man who is decent and a good person.
He doesn’t think he is the best Republican to succeed Newsom. He said that he prefers Larry Elder (conservative talk show host), because he believes he is more charismatic.
He said that Larry Elder is more knowledgeable than the rest.
Briana Mendoza, 30, said the last thing California needs is more turmoil. According to the San Diego social worker, she voted against Newsom’s recall.
“We are in the middle of an epidemic. We should recall the governor, who was trying to stop the spread of the virus. She agreed. “I support the vaccine mandates, mask testing and vaccine mandates.
Mendoza stated that she views the recall effort as a “backlash” by a small number of Republicans in favor of a strongly Democratic state.
Mendoza stated that she was not concerned about the recall attempt succeeding but she made sure she cast her ballot. She stated that Elder is not wanted in office. “This is ridiculous. Trump is out. We don’t need a Trump puppet.”
Than Nguyen, 66, said he voted to recall Newsom over his comment last year that the coronavirus spread through a nail salon, which offended many in the Vietnamese American community.
A Garden Grove retiree, who came from Vietnam over 40 years ago, stated that he does not work in the salon business but was upset by the comment.
Nguyen, who was voting in Westminster nearby, said that “he never corrected it.”
Nguyen indicated that he was concerned about education, and how officials handle the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom was not a supporter of the recall at the beginning, and he has the backing of some of its proponents. Nguyen stated that he chose Assemblyman Kevin Kiley for Newsom.
He said, “We don’t know much about him but the most important thing is that he’s the one who stood up and did the recall.” He deserves the credit.
Kimmi Vuong, 54, said her biggest concerns are the economy and homelessness, and she doesn’t feel Newsom is doing enough on either.
According to the Orange County hair salon owner, she voted to recall Newsom.
She stated that she doesn’t think he does a good enough job for the state. “The state’s economy is so poor. Every company is moving from this state.”
Vuong claimed that she has seen many clients move to Arizona and Texas from California in the past year. Vuong stated that the move has had a negative impact on her business but that prices are still rising.
She claimed that Kiley was her choice to replace Newsom.
She stated, “I think that he’s an honest leader and looks after our community.” He is more experienced. He’s also a true Republican.
Denise Cain, 51, a Republican homemaker in Lafayette, California, voted to recall Newsom because of “the trash, the homeless, the fires, the bias toward what businesses could be open and which could be closed during COVID and the lockdown,” she said, continuing a long list.
“Let’s not forget that schools are a disgrace. She said, “Oh, gas prices would also be one.”
She did not vote in 2018 for Newsom.
“I hope a replacement candidate will do an even better job. She said that she believes the state is in serious disrepair and needs to be fixed.
She stated that Kiley was more centrist than her and that she liked his policies. She said, “We need someone that can unite this country,” and not polarize it.
Eric Fonseca, 63, said he voted against the recall because he supports Newsom and doesn’t want to see a divided California.
“That man has done a lot to help the state. After voting in San Francisco Fonseca stated, “He has helped poor people through the pandemic.”
Fonseca came from Nicaragua 40 years ago to this city, where he was undergoing a civil war. Fonseca claimed that he voted in Trump’s 2016 election because he spoke out against authoritarian governments in Nicaragua and Cuba.
It was all lies. Fonseca stated that he had fooled us all and did not do anything.
“Larry Elder is exactly the same. He lies. He added that we don’t want more lies.”
Janet Webb, 69, of Lafayette, said she voted for the recall and for Elder because of Newsom’s stance on vaccine mandates.
“I am angry. It should be an option. What’s the point of a dictatorship, you ask? I have experienced it. I’ve never felt so angry. I am losing all my family members and friends. She said that they don’t want anything to do right now with me.
“If he enforces these, I’m going have to move out from this state. She stated that it was impossible for her to live in this state if everyone is forced to have a vaccine. “I take my vitamins, I walk around in the reservoir, and I eat well. My immune system has already been built up after I have had the coronavirus.
She claimed that she was at her daughter in law’s baby shower, which turned into heated arguments with family members. She claimed that she voted to recall Newsom, and replace him by Elder.
Steve Marsh, 75, a retired realtor from the Orange County city of Westminster and a Republican, said he supports the recall and feels Newsom favors too many taxes and too many social programs.
He also said that he didn’t like the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw many businesses close down.
He said, “I really objected the whole thing.”
Marsh stated that he elected Elder to replace Newsom. He also said that he used listen to Elder’s radio show and sympathizes with Elder’s conservative views on abortion.
Marsh claimed that he did not expect California’s recall to be successful with so many Democratic voters. He said that he hopes it will stop Newsom from running for higher office, even if it fails.
Marsh stated, “I didn’t vote for him in person, and I’m voting him out. But I don’t think California, with so many Democrats, would actually change anything.”
Erik Peterson, 52, a Lafayette resident who works in construction, is a Democrat who says he tends to vote Republican.
He claimed he voted in favor of the recall and for Newsom to be replaced with Elder.
“Newsom’s handling was horrendous.” He advised us to stay put and to shelter at home. “He’s out doing fundraisers unmasked,” he stated, referring to Newsom’s now-infamous French Laundry meal.
He must be held responsible for his actions. He said that Cuomo was the victim of his actions.
Peterson stated that Newsom’s gun control policies and homelessness were also issues for him.
Alex Ralph, 40, and her partner, Bobby Lang, 33, said they both voted against the recall in Los Angeles.
They described themselves as progressive and voted in Kevin Paffrath for the chance of the recall being successful, calling him their “backup Democrat.”
Lang, who is a food industry worker, stated that the governor’s flip-flopping position on restaurant closings was unacceptable.
Lang stated, “We don’t want Larry Elder but we’re critical of Newsom’s performance.” Lang added that the required number of signatures for a recall election must be greater. “We could do better.”
Ralph stated that she had no names yet in mind to challenge Newsom for the 2022 election. She said that “so much could happen between now, and then.”
Chris Williams, 50, a Democrat from Roseville northeast of Sacramento, said he voted to retain Newsom because of his leadership on the pandemic.
He said, “I support vaccinations. I believe in science. I support masks.” “I think the rates of hospitalizations in other states, such as Texas and Florida, where Republican governors exist, are skyrocketing.
He is a school administrator and does not support the ban on masks in schools.
“I like California’s support for vaccinations and masks. I also like some things the governor does. He also said that he believes the Republican choices are very bad.
Williams said that recalling a governor was an extreme measure, and that voters can elect a new governor by following the normal electoral process.
“We are in democracy. He stated that every four years, people can vote. “I don’t think Newsom did anything unusual enough to merit a recall.
Lysa Flores, 48, dropped off her ballot at a polling place at the Montecito Heights Senior Citizen Center in Los Angeles.
She claimed she voted against the recall, but she heard unsubstantiated rumors that ballot boxes were being stolen, so she decided to drop it at a polling location.
She said, “I am more concerned that the Republicans could compromise this somehow.”
Flores indicated that she agreed with Newsom on pandemic rules. She believes California is proactive and cautious.
She stated that Newsom “has been making the right steps” to defeat the virus.
Although she agrees with Newsom’s other policies, she said she wouldn’t mind seeing him challenger in 2022. She said, “I believe the more options are the better.”
Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles, Jocelyn Gecker in Lafayette, Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco, Amy Taxin in Westminster, Don Thompson in Roseville and Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.