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Larry Elder, right-wing radio host, seeks governorship in California recall

CoronavirusSep 14, 2021 08:50PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gubernatorial recall candidate Larry Elder campaigns in the recall election of governor Gavin Newsom in Monterey Park, California, U.S., September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) -Larry Elder, a conservative radio host and lawyer, rapidly emerged as the most serious challenger in California's recall election with a message that Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom botched his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elder criticized vaccine and masking requirements, saying those safety measures should be a matter of personal choice. He also opposed Newsom's restrictions on businesses, calling them an overreaction that caused unnecessary pain.

Though the latest polls show Newsom is likely to survive Tuesday's recall attempt, they also indicate Elder struck a chord with many voters in a crowded field of 46 candidates vying to replace the governor.

"Larry Elder will keep businesses open and allow us to have freedom of choice," said Republican Taylor Livesley, 31, of Carlsbad, who on Tuesday voted to recall Newsom largely because of his response to COVID-19.

If a majority of California voters say "yes" to removing Newsom on the first ballot question, the top vote-getter on the second question will become governor for the remainder of his term ending in January 2023.

Newsom campaign ads have used Elder's image alongside former President Donald Trump's in an attempt to motivate liberal voters in the heavily Democratic state.

"We may have defeated Donald Trump, but we have not defeated Trumpism. Trumpism is still on the ballot in California," Newsom warned voters at a rally with President Joe Biden on Monday.

Elder, 69, in 2019 called the election of Trump "divine intervention" and "a miracle" but has aimed to shift attention away from the former president during the recall campaign.

"To call me a Trump-supporting radio host is a little unfair ... call me a Mitt Romney-supporting person, or a George Herbert Walker Bush person. I'm a Republican," Elder told CNN.

Elder campaign spokesperson Ying Ma said the recall election "has nothing to do with Trump ... It's about Newsom."

As with Trump, Elder has been embraced by some conservatives who see his penchant for provocative statements as a refreshing antidote to political correctness. The Republican also has railed against high taxes and government regulations, and takes a tough stance on crime.

The Elder campaign says biased media have attempted to turn voters against Elder and overlooked the diversity of the support base he built after joining the race in July.

"Voters of all stripes have responded with overwhelming enthusiasm to Larry Elder's candidacy," Ma said in an email. "Maybe offense wouldn't be taken if the media weren't so biased and dishonest when reporting on his statements and positions."

'SAGE FROM SOUTH CENTRAL'

Elder, who is Black, has said his views grew out of his parents' contention that he could overcome racism with hard work and determination.

He calls himself the "Sage from South Central," referring to a largely African American district of Los Angeles. He left Los Angeles after high school, attended Brown University in Rhode Island and earned a law degree at the University of Michigan.

After practicing law in Cleveland, he returned to Los Angeles in the 1990s and began his career as a radio host, later becoming syndicated nationwide. He is a frequent guest on conservative media outlets such as Fox News.

Elder defines himself as "an American who is Black" rather than African American, telling The Hill in an interview in February, "The idea that there's systemic racism against Black people is a lie."

Elder has blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for rising crime. In July on "The Candace Owens Show," Elder suggested in a discussion about reparations for slave descendants that slave owners also deserved reparations for having their property taken away.

Elder has accused women of exaggerating sexism and hinted women who participated in an anti-Trump march in 2017 were too unattractive to be sexually assaulted. In a 2000 column for Capitalism Magazine he wrote, "Women know less than men about political issues, economics, and current events. Good news for Democrats, bad news for Republicans. For the less one knows, the easier the manipulation."

Larry Elder, right-wing radio host, seeks governorship in California recall
 

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Comments (4)
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 15, 2021 5:00AM ET
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Of the people who voted yes to recall, 46% wanted the crazy talk show host Larry Elder and only 9% wanted the proven SD mayor Kevin Faulconer, just goes to show how low the Party of Lincoln and Reagan has sunk these days......
Daniel Hodel
Daniel Hodel Sep 15, 2021 5:00AM ET
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He got beat so bad in LA, Rodney King feels sorry for him!
Keith Wilson
Keith Wilson Sep 14, 2021 8:54PM ET
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If California votes No on the recall and it's by a large margin I will never, ever again feel sorry for ANYTHING California might suffer through
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 14, 2021 8:54PM ET
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that's mighty christian of you, Jesus always said holding a grudge is better than turn the other cheek
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 14, 2021 11:08AM ET
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Larry Elder only said BLM does not help black people. He stands correct how does George Soros funded BLM help black people?
Terry Dude
Terry Dude Sep 14, 2021 8:43AM ET
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Smart guy
 
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