Vice President Kamala Harris urged Californians Wednesday to rescue Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, saying next week’s recall election is part of a nationwide Republican power play that includes new abortion restrictions in Texas and limits on voting in GOP-led states.
At a union training center in San Leandro — where she was heckled by protesters — Ms. Harris said California voters must “send a message to the world.”
She said Republicans are trying to oust Mr. Newsom because he is one of the top elected Democrats in the country, and she claimed the recall effort “is not a one-off.”
“They’re thinking that if they can get this done in California, they can go around the country and do this,” she said of Republicans.
As she spoke, a group of protesters outside the event could be clearly heard trying to shout down Ms. Harris. Some of them appeared to be holding the flag of Afghanistan.
The vice president said voters “got to understand what’s happening right now.”
“What’s happening in Texas, what’s happening in Georgia, what’s happening around our country with these policies that are about attacking women’s rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, workers’ rights,” she said. “They think if they can win in California, they can do this anywhere. We will show them you’re not going to get this done, not here. Never.”
Ms. Harris, a former senator from California, said she and her husband, Doug Emhoff, have already voted “no” by mail in the recall election.
“They wouldn’t be trying to recall him, except that they know he is a national leader,” Ms. Harris said. “This is why they are putting so many resources and time into trying to take out Gavin Newsom. It is because of his vision. It is because of the agenda. They wouldn’t be trying to recall him, but for the fact that he has always stood for reproductive rights. They wouldn’t be trying to recall him, except they know he stands for ‘Dreamers’ and for farmworkers.”
The vice president said she had watched a video earlier in the day of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott talking about the new abortion law in his state, which bans abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, including cases of rape and incest. Mr. Abbott said he would also crack down on rapists to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Ms. Harris said, “To speak those words — that were empty words — that were false words that were fueled with not only arrogance but bravado … That is not who we want in our leaders. We want in our leaders someone like Gavin Newsom, who always speaks the truth.”
The recall effort was sparked partly by Mr. Newsom‘s political blunder of dining out — maskless— with lobbyists and friends at one of the nation’s most expensive restaurants last November at a time when he was pleading with Californians to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By March, opponents had collected more than the 1.5 million signatures they needed to force a recall vote.
Voters will have the final say next Tuesday. A majority of voters would need to mark “yes” to oust Mr. Newsom more than a year before his term ends.
If they do, they would choose from a list of 46 replacement candidates — many of them unknown, but others with some recognition, including conservative talk show host Larry Elder and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner also is running but has failed to gain traction.
Because so many people are running, the winner would likely become the next governor of the nation’s most populous state with 25% or less of the votes. That’s a far cry from the landslide that swept Mr. Newsom into office in 2018.
In California, a state where ballot initiatives thrive, many governors have faced recall drives under a century-old reform that created a mechanism for voters to remove them mid-term. But only one other effort tapped into enough frustration to make the ballot: Voters recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 over an energy crisis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last California Republican to win statewide.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.