A newly released ad warning that California voters could elect an anti-vaccine candidate unless they support Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has been ruled “misleading” by a leading media outlet.
The 30-second ad posted Monday by Stop the Republican Recall, the most prominent Democrat-backed campaign committee, suggests that voting “yes” on the recall could result in “an anti-vax Republican governor of California.”
A fact-check published Tuesday by the Sacramento Bee called the ad “misleading,” noting that the top four GOP recall candidates — Larry Elder, John Cox, Kevin Faulconer and Kevin Kiley — have all said they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“The leading Republican candidates in the recall race have pushed back against statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandates for any group. They oppose Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s mandates for teachers and health care workers,” said the Bee analysis. “But they are not inherently opposed to the shot. The leading Republicans in the race have all attested to receiving the vaccine themselves.”
The pushback comes with Mr. Newsom and Democrats embracing the vaccine issue as they fight to stop the governor from being ousted in the Sept. 14 special election.
“Voting yes elects an anti-vaccine Trump Republican. Voting no keeps Gavin Newsom fighting the pandemic based on science, compassion and commonsense,” says the ad called “Explainer.” “And here’s the thing: If you don’t vote, we could have an anti-vax Republican governor of California.”
Mr. Newsom announced Tuesday that 80% of state residents had received at least one dose of a vaccine, averaging 600,000 doses administered for the past two weeks.
The governor unveiled last month a first-in-the-nation requirement for school staff and teachers to be vaccinated or be subject to weekly testing. He has also required COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers.
Republican recall candidates have taken issue with mask and vaccine mandates, with Mr. Elder telling a Fresno crowd last month that he would repeal any such requirements as governor “before I have my first cup of tea.”
Mr. Newsom, meanwhile, accused Mr. Elder of following the example of Texas and Florida, where Republican governors have banned such mandates.
“Vote no if for no other reason than this: The starkest contrast between myself and all the folks on the other side — who all supported Trump and support Trumpism — is their support to end the mask mandates and to end the vaccine requirements ‘before their first cup of tea,’” Mr. Newsom said in Deadline Hollywood.
California’s vaccine rollout was sputtering earlier this year, prompting the governor to take a page from states like Ohio offering lottery-style incentives for those who get both shots.
Mr. Newsom announced May 27 that the state would give out $116.5 million in cash and prizes to the lucky vaccinated, declaring on James Corden’s late-night talk show, “Oprah, eat your heart out,” referring to Oprah Winfrey’s famous 2010 car giveaway.
Mr. Kiley, a member of the Assembly, blasted Mr. Newsom for “holding ridiculous lotteries and comparing himself to Oprah.”
“No one has handled the vaccine worse than Gavin Newsom,” Mr. Kiley tweeted on Monday.
Polls show likely California voters split on the recall election, which is being conducted entirely by mail-in ballot in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1.
There are 46 candidates on the ballot vying to replace Mr. Newsom, who has urged voters to leave blank the second part of the ballot listing the contenders.