President Biden delivered his strongest endorsement to date for embattled Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, urging Californians to reject an effort to recall the governor in an upcoming special election.
Newsom has faced intense pressure from Republicans over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with critics arguing his policies infringed on individual freedoms and hurt the state economy. But Biden said Newsom is “leading California through unprecedented crises” and deserves to retain his office.
“Gov. @GavinNewsom is leading California through unprecedented crises—he’s a key partner in fighting the pandemic and helping build our economy back better,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “To keep him on the job, registered voters should vote no on the recall election by 9/14 and keep California moving forward.”
The White House is expected to take an active role in the recall campaign ahead of the vote. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are considering both in-person events and social media outreach on Newsom’s behalf, a source familiar with their planning said.
Prominent Democrats have rallied to support Newsom, a key Biden administration ally. Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., vowed to aid efforts to defeat the recall by rallying support for the governor at the grassroots level.
California voters will first cast ballots on whether to recall Newsom. If the vote passes, residents will cast ballots on which of 43 gubernatorial candidates should succeed him as governor.
Prominent challengers on the Republican side include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder.