Hours after it was clear Tuesday evening that California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had survived the nationally watched recall election by a 2-to-1 ratio, both Democrats and Republicans began talking about the future.
It is now taken for granted that, should President Joe Biden not seek reelection in 2024, Newsom will be a candidate for the White House.
The triumphant governor, who carried the historically Republican bastion of Orange County with 53%, is soon expected to visit to Iowa and New Hampshire — the sites of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses and primary, respectively, in '24.
''Team Newsom,'' which steered him toward his big win in the Tuesday balloting, is reportedly big on the governor running the president.
Among those in his inner circle are longtime strategist Averell ''Ace'' Smith, campaign manager Juan Rodriguez (who also managed the brief presidential campaign of Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020), and former communications director Nathan Click.
With two-thirds of the seats in both the state Assembly and Senate, Democrats are expected to make a move on either reforming or scrapping the recall election process that Newson has just undergone.
The Golden State's unique system for taking out unpopular elected officials has been on the books since progressive Republican Hiram Johnson was elected governor in 1910. Under the recall mechanism, voters are presented with a list of alternative choices to governor and the top vote-getter of that list becomes governor if the incumbent is recalled.
The same rule of ''top vote-getter wins all if official is recalled'' applies to all other officials in California if enough signatures are gathered to force a recall election.
Although Democrats controlled the state Legislature after the last gubernatorial recall in 2003, they did not move against the recall mechanism. With then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, was removed and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democrats concluded they did not have a mandate for such a change in the law.
Now, however, there is a strong case that Newsom has a mandate and it's time to reform the recall law.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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