GOP recall election candidate Larry Elder’s controversies, explained
Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Aug. 24. I’m Justin Ray.
Radio talk show host Larry Elder has emerged as the leading GOP candidate seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom if he is recalled. Elder, who calls himself “the Sage from South Central,” is also a lawyer, documentary maker and writer who is well known in GOP circles and frequently appears on Fox News. But as his profile has risen, so has scrutiny of his life.
As the recall race heats up, here is a summary of moments from Elder’s past that have received attention recently.
The candidate’s former fiancee accused him of brandishing a gun at her. In an article published by Politico, Alexandra Datig claimed that at one point during their stormy, 18-month relationship, Elder checked to see whether his .45 pistol was loaded during a heated argument. “I, for one brief moment, believed that he intended to shoot me. I was in fear for my life,” Datig told The Times, calling it “my Phil Spector, Lana Clarkson moment,” referring to the Hollywood music producer who fatally shot his companion.
“I have never brandished a gun at anyone,” Elder said in response to the claims. “These are salacious allegations.”
Elder’s derogatory remarks about women have been targeted by his opponents in the race. In a 2000 column for Capitalism magazine, Elder said Democrats had an advantage over Republicans because they were supported by women, and “women know less than men about political issues, economics and current events.”
Elder didn’t discuss the statement directly, but on Twitter he claimed that “Calif. Dems are desperate & slandering me, distorting what I wrote in a column 21 yrs ago.” He added a link to the column, saying: “Here’s what I wrote, decide for yourself.”
Elder has been criticized for a decades-old clip recorded at a comedy club, in which he repeatedly uses the N-word, in an apparent impression of O.J. Simpson defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. KBLA morning host Dominique DiPrima, who first re-aired the KABC clip, said it’s “like a Black man doing blackface.”
In a statement emailed to The Times, Elder’s campaign said, “In knee-jerk rhetoric that is far too common today, [DiPrima] resorts to accusing Elder of promoting hate simply because his views have long been contrary to her own.”
- During an interview with McClatchy’s California-based editorial boards, Elder said that “the ideal minimum wage is $0.” The remark drew criticism during a recent recall election debate.
Those are the main issues drawing attention, but Elder has expressed views about abortion, climate change and COVID-19 that are worth reviewing. Additionally, California regulators have launched an investigation into whether he properly disclosed his income sources, which you can read about here.
The recall election is set for Sept. 14, and voters are starting to receive their ballots in the mail. I found this voter guide to be helpful. It explains what your vote will mean and what various political parties are saying.
And now, here’s what’s happening across California.
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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida eloped to Southern California, marrying Ginger Luckey in a small ceremony on Catalina Island. Gaetz, 39, announced the Saturday wedding on his personal Twitter page. He exclaimed, “I love my wife!” alongside a photo of the couple. Vanity Fair reports that a former staffer for Sen. Rand Paul performed the ceremony, which was attended by about 40 people. Gaetz is under investigation in a sex trafficking probe that led to a guilty plea by Joel Greenberg, a close friend and former Florida county tax collector. Gaetz denies wrongdoing. WFLA
CRIME AND COURTS
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HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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