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Biden calls Newsom recall results 'a resounding win' for 'strong vaccine requirements'

Newsom faced a partisan recall effort that had grown out of frustration over his response to the pandemic and the state's strict Covid restrictions.

Posted: Sep 15, 2021 1:06 PM

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the results of California's recall vote "a resounding win" for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically citing the state's strong vaccine requirements.

Newsom faced a partisan recall effort that had grown out of frustration over his response to the pandemic and the state's strict Covid restrictions. But the results of Tuesday's recall -- which weighed whether to oust Newsom from office before the end of his term -- turned out to be a vote of confidence by California voters in his approach, Biden said.

"This vote is a resounding win for the approach that he and I share to beating the pandemic: strong vaccine requirements, strong steps to reopen schools safely, and strong plans to distribute real medicines — not fake treatments — to help those who get sick," Biden said in a statement.

"The fact that voters in both traditionally Democratic and traditionally Republican parts of the state rejected the recall shows that Americans are unifying behind taking these steps to get the pandemic behind us," he continued.

In July, it was announced that California will require all state employees and health care workers to provide proof of vaccination status or get regular testing. Last month, Newsom announced that teachers and other school employees must either be vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to regular testing. A similar order is in effect for the state's health care workers.

And last week, a board voted to require all eligible students attending Los Angeles Unified public schools -- the nation's second largest school district -- to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the calendar year.

California's efforts to implement vaccine requirements come as the Biden administration has explored how to establish federal mandates for Americans, including for US air travel.

Biden recently issued new vaccine requirements, which include a still-undrafted rule that all employers with more than 100 workers must require either the vaccine or regular testing. Newsom said last week that he supports Biden's requirement.

Biden campaigned for Newsom on the eve of the election, calling the governor's most prominent opponent -- conservative radio host Larry Elder -- "a clone" of former President Donald Trump.

The President told supporters that voting against the recall would protect "California from Trump Republicans trying to block us from beating this pandemic."

A Newsom adviser told CNN that Biden's eleventh-hour visit "buoyed" the governor, and the President's aides believed a strong showing could give Democrats and independents a stronger sense of confidence as the administration fights over mask-wearing, vaccines and more.

As a candidate, Elder pledged to roll back the majority of Newsom's Covid restrictions, telling CNN in an interview last month that if elected he "certainly will not" require California state workers to get vaccinated or be tested once a week, or to wear masks at work, as Newsom has mandated.

Biden also sought to illustrate what would happen if Elder were elected by pulling from the actions of existing Republican governors during the pandemic.

"People are doing everything they can to block or undermine the lifesaving mandates we proposed, putting their people at risk, putting their children at risk, putting their states at risk," Biden said. "And here's the worst thing. For these Republican governors, it isn't about public health, about the health of the people. It's about politics."

Newsom's message to voters underscored that the recall amounted to a "life or death" choice and promised that his top priority was to keep them safe.

That message, especially late in the race, when fears of the Delta variant emerged, helped him shift the trajectory of the contest late this summer as he painted a sharp contrast between his own response to the resurgent virus and what Elder might have done as governor.

Exit polling on Tuesday night suggested that message may have broken through with voters, who listed the coronavirus as the most pressing issue facing the state.

About 45% of the electorate says Newsom's policies on the pandemic have been about right, with about one-third calling his policies too strict and the remainder saying they're not strict enough, according to a California exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.

Newsom was also bolstered by a robust turnout among Democrats, who outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1 in the state but had initially appeared uninterested in the race.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 345344

Reported Deaths: 4084
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54651678
Washington37724310
Marion35705439
Clackamas28835298
Lane26661291
Jackson22465297
Deschutes19252122
Umatilla14081139
Linn12200114
Douglas11664238
Josephine9174191
Yamhill8438108
Klamath7549106
Polk707380
Malheur542374
Benton521531
Coos481591
Columbia368143
Jefferson355650
Union309944
Lincoln306033
Wasco275839
Crook263643
Clatsop238027
Baker195628
Tillamook191926
Hood River186036
Morrow180223
Curry177019
Harney106424
Grant96512
Lake86910
Wallowa65712
Gilliam1484
Sherman1453
Wheeler941
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California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4792729

Reported Deaths: 70204
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147241926346
Riverside3682634973
San Diego3622934137
San Bernardino3554725549
Orange3220845504
Sacramento1568892245
Santa Clara1440361882
Fresno1432202036
Kern1429321596
Alameda1195961358
San Joaquin1013761681
Ventura1001911160
Contra Costa98924960
Stanislaus845661302
Tulare78224942
San Francisco53831643
San Mateo53694618
Monterey50579580
Solano45639329
Santa Barbara44662515
Merced41497566
Sonoma40575398
Placer38673404
Imperial35443762
Kings32073309
San Luis Obispo29538327
Madera23300281
Butte23075253
Shasta23014329
Santa Cruz20807217
Yolo20018247
Marin17546242
El Dorado16888146
Sutter13712165
Napa1275196
Yuba985869
Tehama9131102
Humboldt9026106
Nevada900490
Mendocino746786
Lassen741842
San Benito734171
Tuolumne667393
Lake648997
Amador534562
Siskiyou438542
Glenn425930
Calaveras379575
Del Norte354239
Colusa300118
Inyo189139
Mono16205
Plumas14996
Mariposa122315
Trinity85211
Modoc6518
Unassigned1940
Sierra1630
Alpine1020
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