California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom looked set to fend off a recall effort, US television networks said, overcoming a Republican campaign to unseat him over his liberal policies on immigration, COVID-19 and crime.
With more than 60 percent of the votes tallied, NBC, CNN and Fox News said that Newsom was set to prevail, with two thirds voting against the recall effort.
Newsom, a first-term governor, successfully boosted support with a flurry of late campaigning.
“I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote,” Newsom said in a victory speech Tuesday night in the state capital of Sacramento.
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from Beverly Hills, said that Californians were girding for a long night before results could be announced, but were surprised that the quick outcome of the polls.
In the final days of the race, he appeared alongside President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who previously represented California as a US senator and attorney general.
By late on Tuesday, returns showed Newsom easily winning a majority to remain in office.
“It’s not even close,” Dan Morain, a former editorial page editor at the Sacramento Bee, told Al Jazeera. “They (Republicans) were selling something that the vast majority of Californians simply would not buy.”
The leading Republican candidate Larry Elder, a Black radio talk show host and supporter of former President Donald Trump, secured about 43 percent of the vote on the portion of the ballot asking who should replace Newsom if he were recalled, the New York Times reported.
Newsom was elected in a landslide in 2018.
Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in the west coast state, and polls consistently showed that a strong majority of voters opposed recalling Newsom.
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