Gov. Gavin Newsom

Gov. Newsom's Former Chief of Staff Talks Recall and Strategy for 2022

While Gov. Gavin Newsom decisively won the Special Election, were there any lessons learned he should implement in next year's gubernatorial race?

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Gov. Gavin Newsom decisively held on to California and his job, earning 63% of the vote in the Special Election. There have been six recall attempts on the governor since he took office in 2018.

His former Chief of Staff, Ann O'Leary says Newsom embraced a fear-based strategy to win.

"In terms of the recall, I think it was an absolute, I would say fear-based vote which is, Californians whether you're Republican, Democrat of Independent generally aren’t going to vote for hate or divisiveness and the type of what we heard from Larry Elder, people don’t want that," O'Leary said.

Despite his missteps and what some perceive to be arrogance during the pandemic, O'Leary said a Republican challenger shouldn't be the governor's concern. It's a Democratic primary that might test him. She says either way, in 2022, the governor will have to shift to campaigning on his record in order to win.

Early returns released by the California Secretary of State's Office showed voters rejecting the bid to recall Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

"Now he's got to explain to people what he's done on COVID, but he has to stand up for what he did and what he said he’s going to run for," she said.

She also thinks he should leverage the women in his circle to give voters a look into his "softer side."

"I think he might do better with using his wife, the first partner, more using women around him who can see that side of him, the softer side that voters want to hear about and I think particularly women voters in California, they want to know that he not only has got them from a policy perspective, but that he gets what they're going through," she said.

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