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SLO Democrats discuss recall strategy; say Democrats should leave replacement question blank


In less than two weeks, voters will decide whether Governor Gavin Newsom will be removed from office. The Democratic Party is urging people to vote ‘no’ on recalling Newsom, but with nine other Democrats on the ballot, what about voting on his potential replacement?

The Democratic Party's main message is to cut and dry: vote ‘No’ on question one — whether Newsom should be recalled or not.

The second question — who should replace Newsom if the recall passes — has some Democratic voters scratching their heads, with other Democrats running on the ballot.

Rita Casaverde, chairperson for the San Luis Obispo Democratic Party, said people should leave question two blank.

“As a Democratic party, and as a San Luis Obispo County Democratic party, we were not able to find a candidate that would do better than the governor,” Casaverde said.

While Newsom and some of his supporters have been pushing to leave the second question blank, others have discussed a strategy of writing in the Democratic governor as his own replacement in question two. But, Casaverde said that strategy won’t work. 

“The way write-ins work is that candidates actually have to file to be a write-in candidate," Casaverde said.  "Therefore, writing Gavin Newsom will not make a difference to your ballot. It’s not a recommendation because it’s just not possible.”

Casaverde said she understands some Democrats may be debating ousting the governor over controversial decisions he made during the pandemic, but she is urging the party to stay together. 

“There is really very little that we are disappointed with," Casaverde said. "We are seeing now that the right decisions were made, and hopefully, after the recall, we continue making the right decisions for the safety of the community.”

Usually, on election night the SLO Democratic Party hosts a watch party at their election office. But Casaverde says with covid cases surging, that won’t be possible this time around. 

“If anyone wants to join us, we’ll put out a link where people can join us virtually from their homes safely," Casaverde said. " We did the same when we celebrated the inauguration of Biden, and we will do the same for election night. So well be meeting over zoom and celebrating that the 'no' has won.”

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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