Larry Elder, 69, garnered nearly half the votes from voters who chose to replace Newsom but some 64 percent of Californians who cast ballots opted not to remove the governor.
Newsom, 53, would have been replaced if a simple majority voted in favor of the recall. Elder, as the top vote-getter among those running to succeed the Democrat, would have replaced him.
“Let’s be gracious in defeat. And by the way, we may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” Elder told a crowd in Costa Mesa after the results indicated Newsom prevailed.
Newsom, in his first term, trumpeted the results after weeks of anxiety for him and his fellow Democrats.
“It appears we are enjoying an overwhelmingly ‘no’ vote tonight here in the state of California,” the governor told reporters in Sacramento.
Elder and other gubernatorial candidates had criticized Newsom for imposing harsh restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and for the rise in crime and homelessness the state has seen under his watch.
Newsom attempted to tie Republicans running to replace him to former President Donald Trump.
Another California gubernatorial race will take place next year. The matchup could pit Elder versus Newsom again.
“Stay tuned,” Elder told supporters, referring to himself as “a former radio host.”
Elder has hosted radio and television shows for years, including one on EpochTV.
Elder would have been California’s first black governor if he were elected.
The governor received support from former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden, while Elder didn’t see much support from national Republicans. The California Republican Party declined to endorse a candidate in the election.
California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said after results came in that Newsom “was rescued by two presidents, radical left-wing Washington, D.C. politicians, and campaign spending in excess of $50 million.”
She said that Newsom and his allies “can no longer ignore the millions of Californians—Democrat, Republican, and Decline to State—who voted yes and recognize that state government has failed to deliver on its core responsibilities.”
But Jaime Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the vote was “a win for the bold agenda put forth by President Biden, Governor Newsom, and Democrats in Congress.”
“Governor Newsom provides the smart, capable, and focused leadership necessary to keep Californians safe and build the state’s economy back better amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He has a strong record of delivering for the people of California and I look forward to watching him continue that critical work as governor,” Harrison added.