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Live coverage: California recall


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Tuesday brings us our biggest election night of the cycle to date as voting concludes in California in the recall campaign against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, and we'll be liveblogging the results below. Additionally, preliminary elections for mayor are on tap in both Boston and Cleveland ahead of the November general election in both cities.

Results: CA Recall | Boston Mayor | Cleveland Mayor | IA House

Polls are now closed in both Cleveland and Boston. We’ll be signing in at 11 PM ET when California polls close for our live coverage, but feel free to use this thread to chat about all of tonight’s elections. There’s also a competitive special election for the Iowa state House (where polls close at 9 PM ET), as well as one in a safely red seat in the Tennessee House.
Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 2:16:57 AM +00:00 · David Nir

IA State House: Republican Mike Bousselot has defeated Democrat Andrea Phillips by a 52-48 margin to hold Iowa’s 37th State House District for the GOP. Donald Trump won this district in the Des Moines suburbs 50-48 last year but by a much larger 51-42 margin in 2016. Click here for our tracker of all legislative special elections, which compares them to prior presidential performance in the same districts.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 2:42:40 AM +00:00 · David Nir

In Boston, scarcely a vote has been tallied, even two-and-a-half hours after polls closed. In Cleveland, though, about 34,000 votes have been counted, putting nonprofit executive Justin Bibb up 26-20 on City Council President Kevin Kelley. Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich is at 17%. (All are Democrats.) The top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election. It’s hard to guess what total turnout might be, though, as Cleveland hasn’t had an open mayoral primary since 2001, when almost 82,000 people voted.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 2:44:41 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: As we await the top of the hour and the start of the counting in the Golden State, it is probably helpful to put the forthcoming results in perspective. Especially given the fact that there are hordes of political reporters that are likely en route to making a bit of an absurd error in analysis (if what we’ve already seen and read is prologue).

This recall election, by all rights, should be close. Recalls are different beasts from partisan elections. The binary nature of a recall, absent clear partisan cues, tends to work to the disadvantage of the incumbent.

Look at the famous 2003 recall of Gray Davis, the most recent time that California Republicans wielded this weapon on a Democratic Governor. In the 2002 gubernatorial election which preceded the recall by a mere 11 months, Democrat Gray Davis won by a margin of 4.9%. But in the recall shortly thereafter, he lost the recall by a fraction over ten points. The overall marginal shift was 15.7%.

More recently, we saw a California state Senator, Josh Newman of Orange County, recalled in 2018. After having won his first term in 2016 in an upset by a narrow 0.8%, he lost the recall by 16.2%. There, the overall margin shift was 17.0%.

Based on these metrics, one would expect the recall to be far closer than recent polls suggest. Given that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) won his first term in 2018 by a final margin of 23.9%, one would expect Newsom to survive this recall if a similar shift occurs, but by a very narrow margin. Think 52-48 or 53-47. If the recall fails by much more than that, this should rightly be interpreted as a major defeat, and no small embarrassment, for the California GOP.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:02:55 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

Polls have now closed in California. Given the high amount of mail-in ballots, we can expect that there will be a sizable amount of votes tallied in the next hour or so. So sit tight, we will have news very soon!

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:06:20 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

Cleveland Mayor: Based off this, it is pretty clear that we are headed here to a runoff between top votegetter Justin Bibb and city council president Kevin Kelley.

Dennis Kucinich concedes. Says he doesn’t think he’ll make up the ground he’s lost for the number 2 spot. Congratulates Justin Bibb. pic.twitter.com/kjB0CsTxYq

— Nick Castele (@NickCastele) September 15, 2021

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:10:03 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: We are starting to see mail returns from several counties (San Diego, Napa, Orange, Ventura). Bearing in mind that the Democrats were expected to be overrepresented in mail-in balloting and that the pro-recall forces were expected to vote in-person: these aren’t good results for the recall. The recall is failing at present with anywhere between 58% of the vote (Orange) and 70% of the vote (Napa). This will tighten, clearly. But this is not the deficit the recall team needed to try to overcome.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:11:01 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: With those four counties seeing their mail-in votes tallied, the vote currently stands at No winning by a 61-39 margin.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:14:58 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

In addition to our AP link above, we’d also invite you to check out the New York Times link, which has both a snazzy map and also seems to be running a little bit ahead of both the AP link as well as the Secretary of State’s results.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:18:25 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: There had been some talk in center-right circles that Larry Elder becoming the face of the GOP recall effort was a boon to former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who ran low-key ads lauding his tenure in office. That move...appears not to have worked out. In the mail-in vote in his home county, Faulconer is circling the drain at just 17% of the vote. Elder is the clear leader among people who voted for a replacement to Newsom.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:20:25 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: We told you the count would come quickly. We are now up to almost 6 million votes counted, which is probably in the neighborhood of half of the total vote. The “No” vote is currently leading 70-30.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:25:52 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: Again, a reminder, though I am not certain it is needed. The votes tallied in the recall election so far (6.3 million and climbing) are mail ballots, which we knew in advance would hugely favor the Democrats. The day-of voting, which will be teeming with Republicans still mail-skeptic after the 2020 election disinformation, will lean substantially the other way. That’s why there has been no call yet, despite the fact that we are at half the ballots counted and “No” is currently leading with 70% of the vote.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:33:46 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser

California: In a sign that a lot of voters took the Democratic request to not vote on the second question of the recall (the replacement candidates) seriously, we are at 7.6 million votes on the recall question, but only about half of that amount on question 2. For what it’s worth (and that’s increasingly likely to be: nothing), Republican Larry Elder leads on that second question with 41%.

Wednesday, Sep 15, 2021 · 3:35:39 AM +00:00 · Matt Booker

The liveblog continues here.