SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - With one week until recall election day, Governor Gavin Newsom campaigned at a phone bank in San Francisco’s Mission District, hoping to drum up support in the Latino community.
He shook hands, took photos and thanked volunteers who hope to reach 10,000 Latino voters in the next week. "Latino voters cannot be taken for granted," said SEIU Local 87 President Olga Miranda. "That’s why we have showed up today: to stand with our governor, we want to walk you back and keep you in Sacramento."
Flanked by other elected officials, the governor again hit Republican frontrunner Larry Elder and urged people to turn in their ballots now. "Either we vote no on this recall, or in a matter of weeks, the next governor of this state is Larry Elder," said Newsom to the crowd. "The Latino community I hope you pay close attention to this: he is offended by our healthcare expansion, regardless of your immigration status."
The latest numbers from Political Data Inc. show only 18% of Latinos have returned their ballots, despite making up nearly 30% of registered voters. At times, polls have shown Latinos split on keeping Newsom in office. However, the latest from the Public Policy Institute of California shows 66% of likely Latino voters won’t support the recall. "It’s clear Latino voters could make a critical difference in the election, in the recall election," said Dr. Manuel Pastor, director of the USC Equity Research Institute.
Dr. Pastor says campaigns must reach out to Latino voters and focus on issues that impact the community, like COVID-19. "The task is to try to make sure those voters who are normally less engaged politically, perhaps less informed, get the information they need," said Dr. Pastor.
Newsom echoed his latest campaign ad calling the election a matter of "life and death." "No community would be more disproportionately impacted from a public health prism than the Latino community," Newsom said about the prospect of a Republican taking the office, pointing to many candidates’ desires to rescind mask and vaccine mandates.
Some of Newsom’s challengers have also appealed to the Latino community. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Elder have released Spanish ads. Elder’s held news conferences with Latino former elected officials including Democrat Gloria Romero. "You cannot take a constituency for granted, and expect to hold us hostage when our kids have been failed by the elites in power that are telling us to stand down, shut up and fall in line," said Romero at an Elder event last week.
While Newsom continues to urge voters to turn out, he’s getting help from the White House. Vice President Harris will stump for him in the Bay Area Wednesday, President Biden will travel to the state early next week as well. "That’s a big deal, logistically and otherwise," said Newsom. "I think all of us understand the consequential nature of this election and I think national Democrats understand that as well."