Despite the resounding failure of the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, frontrunner replacement candidate Larry Elder told supporters in Costa Mesa that his campaign had such force that it was changing how the state is run.
“We may have lost the battle but we are winning the war,” the conservative radio host told hundreds of backers in the Hilton Orange County ballroom. “We are forcing them now to do a better job. … They are now listening in ways they never have before.”
Supporters remained upbeat and cheered him repeatedly, and some said they’re hoping the 69-year-old will run against Newsom next year. Elder was coy on the issue.
“Stay tuned,” he said toward the end of his 35-minute improvised speech.
He offered an extensive litany of complaints with the state, including housing costs, public schools, wildfires, inadequate water and electric infrastructure, the business environment and taxes — and laid much of the blame at the feet of Newsom.
“I can’t think of anything this man has done in the past two years that says he deserves another day in office,” Elder said.
While he had previously spoke of the possibility of election “shenanigans,” Elder made no reference to election irregularities in his speech Tuesday night.
What he did spend a chunk of time on was racism and how the problem was overstated by Democrats.
“Knock if off,” said Elder, an African American. “We have reached the point where we are being judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin.
“Systemic racism is not the problem.”
He recounted a conversation in which he told a black reporter “by far the biggest problem is the large number of children born … without a father married to the mother.”
And he indicated his efforts in politics are not over.
“I’m a uniter. We are going to bring this country together.”