latest news With California GOP, what will Larry Elder do after the recall?

Although the effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom has failed, the two-month blitz appears to have had at least one clear beneficiary – Larry Elder.

The conservative radio talk host jumped to the top of the field of 46 recall challengers shortly after entering the race on July 12, strengthening his mark as a media provocateur and potentially paving the way for a future election candidacy .

His appearance on Tuesday, when he largely led the challengers, could establish him as the putative leader of the state’s Republican Party.

Some of his more ardent supporters have said they hope Elder will show up next year, to challenge Newsom for the second time.

Asked about a run in 2022, Elder told KMJ Radio in Fresno on Tuesday: “I have now become a political force here in California in general and in the Republican Party in particular. And I’m not going to leave the stage.

But his path to victory would then be even more difficult, when he had to secure a majority of the votes in a state where Democrats are almost 2 to 1.

Tuesday’s results represented a blatant dichotomy for Elder: The Los Angeles native, who made his first candidacy at 69, has overtaken more experienced candidates to become the darling of the Conservatives. This set him on the verge of becoming the first black governor in the state’s 171-year history.

But his unyielding conservatism – against abortion rights, opposed to minimum wage, and ready to reverse COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirements – has likely pushed back enough voters in liberal-leaning California to help lead a considerable part of the electorate to keep Newsom in power.

“He is now the leader of the resistance in California, or at least one of the greatest leaders,” said Carl DeMaio, radio host in San Diego and chairman of the Reform California political action committee. “If he wants to represent himself, there is no doubt that he is the [Republican] candidate. There is simply no doubt.

But dominance over a small, conservative “resistance” – dominated by a shrinking minority of older white voters – is not a formula to bring Republicans back to power in California, GOP consultant Mike Madrid said.

“You can say that you have remained pure in defeat, but this is just a martyr’s candidacy,” said Madrid. “It appeals to a core group that is the fastest shrinking demographic in the state and across the country.”

Elder insisted in the final days of his campaign that he would topple Newsom, even as polls began to show the pro-recall vote was overwhelmed by votes to keep Newsom in power. Asked last week about a possible 2022 rematch with the governor, Elder did not respond directly.

“A lot of people have invested their hopes and dreams in me,” Elder said. “A lot of people think I can improve California.”

If Elder chooses to return to his job as a talk show host, he should find his stature significantly improved, industry analysts have said.

“He will be a big winner in his media career as his profile has grown exponentially from the start,” said Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers, a trade publication for the radio and television talk industry. . “It was a huge victory for him.”

The self-proclaimed “Sage from South-Central” has been a fixture on Los Angeles radio for most of the past 30 years., first on KABC AM-790, briefly via its own streaming release and, since 2016, on AM-870.

Elder has taken a break to run for governor, but he will be back on the Salem Radio Network, which broadcasts its program to 115 stations across the country and to about 260 other cable and HD platforms.

Elder’s bosses have made it clear that they hope to capitalize on the wave of attention he received after competing in the encore race.

“For the stations who have now seen this campaign and have seen how good Larry is, it’s time to come back to these stations,” said Phil Boyce, senior vice president of Salem who oversees the network. “I expect him to take stations in the future because of this.”

Elder has long told friends he covets a national television presence, although he has not publicly said if he still has those ambitions. He has been invited 220 times on Fox News programs over the past five years, but representatives of the Conservative Network have declined to say whether they would consider Elder for a regular paid position.

Elder arrived late for the recall campaign, but quickly passed his rivals. He rose to the top of the polls and raised more campaign funds, especially from small donors. By the end of August, he had raised over $ 2.3 million from those who gave less than $ 100. This was more than three times the amount raised by its four closest competitors.

Verbally agile and outspoken about the power of personal responsibility, Elder hammered home the libertarian positions he has been promoting for years. He called for fewer government intrusions, the right of parents to choose their children’s schools and more forest management, to reduce the risk of wildfires.

He declined to debate other challengers. Although they slandered him in his absence, the newcomer only seemed to grow in stature.

A threat to Elder’s candidacy arose in mid-August when his former fiancee and producer, Alexandra Datig, accused him of emotional abuse, pushing her and checking her pistol to see if it was loaded during an argument about their relationship.

Elder has denied ever wielding a gun at Datig, or anyone, and called the allegations a distraction from the real issues of the recall campaign.

Rival candidates have asked Elder to withdraw from the race. So is the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board. But Elder ignored them and appeared to suffer no prejudice with his main supporters. (Los Angeles prosecutors declined to investigate, saying the statute of limitations has run out on the six-year-old charges.)

To his most ardent supporters, Elder was the butt of insults for his truth.

“Larry will not be bought by unions and big tech. He will work for everyone, not just his party members, ”supporter Susann said via Facebook. “I don’t want compulsory vax, compulsory masks in our children’s schools. And, more importantly, I want a choice of school for my grandchildren.

Many Elder fans have said they see him as the antidote to an over-ambitious government.

“We have to fight for freedom,” said Estrella Harrington, after seeing Elder speak at a shopping mall in Little Saigon, Orange County. Harrington, an immigrant from Indonesia, said of Elder’s 15-minute presentation: “Perfect. It’s nice.”

Elder and some of his supporters have signaled that they might not accept a loss as legitimate. The candidate said his campaign has created its own “Voter Integrity Council,” made up mostly of lawyers willing to take legal action if they spot election fraud.

Before a vote was counted, several figures on the right – from Fox News personality Tucker Carlson to former President Trump – suggested Newsom would benefit from an unfair count.

But the state’s Republican politics veterans have said the GOP in California had better take a more moderate path. They pointed to strongly Democratic states like Maryland and Massachusetts, where moderate Republicans won the governorship.

“Any candidate who only appeals to the grassroots, 32% of the electorate, and at the same time energizes the remaining 68% a lot, it will not be useful for a Republican candidate,” said Rob Stutzman, who was a spokesperson for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state’s last Republican governor.

Radio host DeMaio scoffed at pundits who said Elder and the other Republicans need to be more moderate. “It’s like saying Republicans should have supported a candidate more like a Democrat,” DeMaio said. “No Republican voter will listen to this.”

Dennis Prager, the radio host who was one of Elder’s mentors, said he believed his campaign had made people realize “how much Democratic and leftist politics have caused minorities.” He said Elder had been particularly effective in exposing the “blatant double standard” that allowed privileged children, like those at Newsom, to attend in-person classes during the pandemic, while most public school students languished. at home.

Prager said Elder had given no indication whether he would return to radio or pursue another gubernatorial candidacy. “I would like Larry to do whatever it takes to get him to be heard by more and more people,” Prager said.

Days before the election, Elder responded with a smile when asked what he would do if he lost. “Don’t be so negative,” he said. “I’m going to win this one.”

Whatever the outcome, he said he plans to keep talking about expanding educational opportunities, improving the state’s power system, controlling the skyrocketing cost of living and reduce homelessness.

“I don’t know for sure what my trip will be,” Elder said, “but my life has now changed forever. “

Times editors Stephen Battaglio in New York and Julia Wick in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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