How Trump-hating California got a slate of recall candidates who supported Trump

With a historic gubernatorial recall election just weeks away, California voters will soon decide whether they want to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom and, if so, who should succeed him as governor. Despite no longer being in office, former President Donald Trump has loomed large over the race. Newsom has fought to tie the effort to Trump, who is widely unpopular in the state, while the Republican candidates have had to navigate a party remade by the specter of the former president. California prided itself as being the center of the “resistance” to Trump, but Trump also received more votes in California in November than in any other state. It’s a quirk of California’s hulking size that such a Democratic stronghold — President Joe Biden overwhelmingly won the state with 63.5% of the vote — could also be home to more Trump voters than anywhere else. This central paradox of modern California politics — an incongruity usually obscured by the sheer number of registered Democrats in the state — could define the outcome of the recall election. Having successfully deterred any prominent Democratic politician from running, Newsom and the state Democratic Party are urging voters to leave the second question on the ballot blank. That means if voters recall the Democratic governor from office next month, his replacement is likely to come from a group of top Republican candidates — almost all of whom have publicly supported Trump. And if California’s overwhelming Democratic majority doesn’t weigh in on the second […]

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