Overview and Live Results: California Gubernatorial Recall Election

September 14, 2021

Headlining Tuesday's election calendar is the California gubernatorial recall election. Details are on this page. There are also two state house special elections in Iowa and Tennessee as well as mayoral primaries in Boston, Cleveland, and Toledo. Use the links below to see other results.

State House Special Elections >> Mayoral Primary Elections >>


California Gubernatorial Recall Election

Voters in California will decide whether Gov. Gavin Newsom should be recalled. Here's a 270toWin article from a few weeks back with some background on the election. For more, see these articles from CNN, The New York Times, and FiveThirtyEight. Here's some recall history from the Secretary of State's office.

A vote-by-mail ballot was sent to registered voters (over 22 million) in August. As of Monday, over 8 million of those had been returned (about 37%).  Political Data Intelligence has a nice tracker providing demographic and party breakdown of these ballots. On Election Day, polling locations are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM Pacific Time.

Live results will appear below after 11:00 PM Eastern Time.

Question 1

There is one 'yes or no' question on the ballot that asks "Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor." If a majority (50%+1) of the votes cast on this recall question are 'Yes', Newsom will be removed from office and replaced with the replacement candidate receiving the highest number of votes. 

The election has been colorful at times and appeared competitive for a period earlier this summer, but appears to be heading for an anticlimactic finish. Democrats mobilized aggressively in recent weeks, culminating with a visit by President Biden on Monday. 

Recent polling has moved sharply in Newsom's favor.  The FiveThirtyEight average shows the referendum being defeated by double-digits. 

Question 2

There are 46 candidates who hope to succeed Newsom; voters can choose one. The candidate receiving the most votes will become governor if Newsom is recalled. 

Support has coalesced around conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who is averaging 28%. However, he has exceeded that number in five of the six most recent polls, including two where he was at 38% or higher. There are no notable Democrats on the ballot, as those with political experience stayed out of the race at the urging of Newsom's campaign

Keep in mind:

  • We may know the winner of Question 2 before we know the result of Question 1. 
  • The Question 2 results are moot unless 'Yes' wins Question 1.

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