California recall hopeful Larry Elder says there’s a reason his candidacy has been targeted by media outlets: They fear the Black Republican will break the left’s grip on minority voters.
Mr. Elder, who leads the GOP field heading into the Sept. 14 special election, said Sunday that the liberal press is “scared to death” by the prospect of a Republican becoming California’s first Black governor.
“I think it’s because the press oftentimes serves as a public-relations bureau for the Democrat Party, and they’re deathly afraid that Larry Elder, a Black guy from the ‘hood who went to public school, might break the stranglehold that the Democrats have had on Black and brown voters here in California,” Mr. Elder said on Fox News Channel’s “Media Buzz.”
“If that can be done in California, it can be done all over the country. And they are scared to death,” he said.
His response came after host Howard Kurtz asked: “Why do you think the press is being so tough on you?”
Leading the anti-Elder brigade is the Los Angeles Times opinion page, which has featured columns in recent weeks with the headlines, “Larry Elder talks a lot. Too bad you can’t believe anything he says,” and “If Elder is elected, life will get harder for Black and Latino Californians.”
Then there was the memorable Aug. 20 column by Erika D. Smith titled “Larry Elder is the Black face of white supremacy. You’ve been warned,” which became a story in itself.
Ward Connerly, who led the 1996 Proposition 209 campaign to ban affirmative action in state hiring and education, swung back with an Aug. 29 op-ed blasting the “racist smear campaign against Larry Elder.”
“It is hard to know where to start — so many, so unhinged, and so vile are the attacks against Larry Elder in the Los Angeles Times’ hit pieces,” Mr. Connerly wrote in the Orange County Register.
Mr. Elder said Sunday that “they’re doing whatever they can to bring me down” before the recall election, which will determine whether Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom stays or goes.
“They’re going hysterical because of what I said,” Mr. Elder said. “They’re afraid that I’m going to be able to break the stranglehold that they’ve had over Blacks and browns for years.”
The talk-radio host has been endorsed by two prominent Hispanic political leaders, former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and former Democratic state Sen. Gloria Romero.
“All I am is common sense,” said Mr. Elder. “I’m going to do something about the crime. I’m going to do something about the lousy education; do something about the rise in homelessness; do something about our water crisis, about our poor management of the forests. What could be so bad?”
The latest polls show Mr. Elder with a comfortable lead in the 46-candidate recall field, but also indicate that support for ousting the governor is fading.
A Trafalgar Group survey released Saturday showed 53% oppose the recall of Mr. Newsom while 43% support it, though that’s still much closer than one might suspect in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2 to 1.
Among recall candidates, Mr. Elder was the choice of 32% of those polled, followed by Democrat Kevin Paffrath with 13%.
But the second question only becomes relevant if the first question on whether to recall Mr. Newsom gets a majority.