Newsom Gets Backing From Many Newspaper Editorial Boards

Their endorsements point out shortcomings but cite his values and experience.

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Many newspaper editorial boards are backing Newsom

Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigning in Oakland on Saturday. Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Sept. 12, 2021, 5:13 p.m. ET

Despite a concerted effort from conservatives to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, most newspaper editorials in the state continue to endorse him and are strongly recommending not to vote him out of office. Many publications across the state are asking readers to overlook Mr. Newsom’s shortcomings and focus on his legislative agenda and his overall leadership during the pandemic.

The editorial board of The Los Angeles Times, the largest newspaper in the state, said that replacing Mr. Newsom with “an untested and unprepared alternative who wouldn’t represent the values of most Californians” would be disastrous.

The paper acknowledged Newsom’s “missteps” — including issuing rigid public health mandates during the pandemic but then being photographed dining unmasked with a large group — but called these minor compared with “the good he has done for California as one of the nation’s strongest leaders on the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The San Francisco Chronicle similarly urged its readers to vote on the recall “with a resounding no.” The editorial board echoed a similar argument that, while he has not been perfect, Mr. Newsom is better than the alternative.

“It’s true that the governor managed the pandemic unevenly and imposed precautions inconsistently even as he violated their spirit with his infamous French Laundry soiree,” its editorial board wrote, referring to the restaurant where the governor dined unmasked. The board added that the state still “has weathered the crisis better than the nation.”

In San Jose, the editorial board of The Mercury News slammed Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host who is running, stating that he “has zero experience in elected office and is a Donald Trump clone who would impose his right-wing, extremist views on California in every way possible.”

The Sacramento Bee, in also discouraging Mr. Newsom’s removal, stated that the governor’s three strongest potential replacements: Mr. Elder, along with Kevin Faulconer, a former mayor of San Diego, and the businessman John Cox are all “shamefully uninformed and unqualified.”

The Orange County Register, one of the few conservative-leaning publications in the state with an editorial board, came out in support of the recall, questioning Mr. Newsom’s management of issues like wildfires and education.

The paper championed Mr. Elder as the obvious pick — and said that its stance on a recall was less about the governor’s handling of the pandemic and more about a series of concerns including increased rates of homelessness, crime and poverty.

“Our problem with Newsom’s leadership is more fundamental,” it wrote. “Pick an issue and the state’s failures are obvious.”

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