Carla Marinucci and colleagues at Politico:
THE BUZZ — GOD’S GIFT TO GAVIN? GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder has become a campaign gift to Gavin Newsom — with some Republicans suggesting the talk show host has actually become “counterproductive” to the recall drive.
Elder last week set off a firestorm by uttering out loud the sentiment that every major GOP recall candidate had studiously avoided. Speaking of Sen. Dianne Feinstein on fellow conservative Mark Levin’s radio show, Elder claimed that “nobody’s seen [her] in weeks,” and suggested the 88-year-old senator is in “even worse mental condition than Joe Biden.”
“They’re afraid I'm going to replace her with a Republican — which I most certainly would do,” Elder said. “And that would be an earthquake in Washington, D.C."
Elder’s comments immediately became a fundraising focal point for Democrats — and prompted some on social media to suggest Elder had just sunk the recall movement. But Elder was right on this point: few statements can fire up the party’s base like the threat of Republicans flipping the U.S. Senate — and Newsom immediately jumped on it. incumbent opponent plenty of material. Take the case of Texas’ restrictive new abortion legislation: When anti-abortion activist Lila Rose tweeted that Elder promised a litany of actions to put the brakes on legal abortion in California, Elder, pressed by the Sac Bee’s Lara Korte this weekend, failed to refute that tweet and then had his security team block Korte from further follow-ups.
Over the weekend, Elder told conservative pundit Candace Owens that slave owners are “owed reparations” and said sex education has “no place“ in California schools. And CNN reported that Elder once admitted being accused twice of sexual harassment, saying that one of his accusers was too ugly to be credible.
THE FALLOUT: The stumbles have led recall campaign leader Orrin Heatlie, the former Yolo County sheriff's sergeant, to tell POLITICO this week that Elder’s entry has been “counterproductive” to the grassroots recall movement. “I rejected his candidacy from the get-go, because he’s so far outspoken on the extreme,’’ he said.
If Elder was deliberately trying to toss the recall back to Newsom, what would he do differently? 🤦♂️ https://t.co/GgUyS4g1dU— Ron Nehring (@RonNehring) September 7, 2021