JNS: Jewish voters seen as crucial bloc in California recall election

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Despite the odds that California’s embattled Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will defeat an effort to recall him on Tuesday, Democratic organizations, including the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), as well as the party’s leading politicians are not taking the race for granted.

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to campaign on Newsom’s behalf on Monday, following Vice President Kamala Harris, a California native, last week, among many other Democratic leaders. While there are no issues that are seen as specifically Jewish in the race, the state’s total Jewish population is only second to New York, making Jews an essential voter block to activate.

On Sunday, the JDCA led a phone-banking effort with its supporters contacting Jewish voters across California to vote “no” on the first question on the ballot of whether to recall the governor and will continue its effort on Monday with a celebrity guest, podcaster and former speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, Jon Lovett.

DMFI on Thursday distributed a news release expressing what Democrats feel is at stake in this off-cycle recall election.

“If Gov. Newsom receives less than 50 percent of the vote, Republicans will install a radical right-wing Trump backer, probably talk radio host Larry Elder, currently polling at only 25 percent,” said DMFI president Mark Mellman in the release. “Like too many Republicans these days, Mr. Elder holds a number of extreme—and outright dangerous—views, antithetical to those held by the vast majority of Californians: he opposes a minimum wage of any kind, supports overturning Roe v. Wade, wants to eliminate all welfare and entitlements, and has promoted misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. In an ordinary election, such a candidate would lose by a landslide in California, but thanks to the state’s unique constitution, which only requires 12 percent of voters to force a recall, the chances of a Gov. Elder are far too high.”

According to a recent study by the Jewish Electorate Institute, California is home to approximately 900,000 adult Jews—most of whom, like elsewhere in the country, are Democrats.

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