What votes in the California governor recall election reveal on a county level

The Times has analyzed recall voting on a county level.
(Associated Press )

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Sept. 16. I’m Justin Ray.

The major question of the recall election has been answered, with voters overwhelmingly deciding to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office. But other questions remain, such as: How did people vote in different regions of the state? Are there any big takeaways?

We have some answers. The Times took a closer look at the results at a county level. They are still preliminary, as late-arriving mail ballots are still being tallied. But here’s what we know so far.

How the state voted


In L.A. County, roughly 71% of ballots counted as of Wednesday morning were opposed to the recall, The Times reported. In San Francisco, the proportion of voters who wanted to keep Newsom was just under 87%, according to early results published by the secretary of state’s office.

That’s no surprise, but Newsom also had a strong showing in the rest of urban Southern California, according to the preliminary results. In San Diego County, California’s second most populous, nearly 59% of votes counted so far were opposed to the recall. The margins were thinner in Orange County at 52.6%, Riverside County at 52.4% and San Bernardino County at 52%.

There was a lot of support for the recall in much of the state’s rural north, along with much of the Central Valley — traditional GOP areas with much smaller populations, The Times reported.

COVID-19 and the recall

The early results reveal a strong relationship between the governor’s support and COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Results of the recall show that counties with higher COVID-19 vaccination rates were more likely to support Newsom.
Results of the recall show that counties with higher COVID-19 vaccination rates were more likely to support Newsom.
(Matt Stiles, Los Angeles Times; Associated Press; California Department of Public Health)

Basically, counties with the lowest vaccination rates were most supportive of the recall. Conversely, those with higher vaccination coverage wanted the governor to stay.

We have updated our interactive map that shows how counties voted.

Additional reading on the election:

  • The rules governing recall elections in California will be subject to new scrutiny and possible changes, as two state legislators said Wednesday that the failed effort to remove Newsom from office was too costly and needlessly confusing. “That money could be spent on housing, on homelessness, on combating climate change, forest fires, early childhood education, you name it,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), chairman of the Assembly Elections Committee.
  • Newsom decisively fended off the recall with a two-pronged strategy: nonstop GOP bashing and an unapologetic embrace of vaccine mandates. Now, the architects of his win say Democrats across the country should follow suit in next year’s midterm election.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California.

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Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges in Los Angeles County under a forthcoming health order aimed at further armoring the region against the pandemic. The mandate, which will be issued by Friday, will require patrons and employees to have at least one vaccine dose by Oct. 7 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. Los Angeles Times

An El Segundo woman and her boyfriend have been charged with murder and child abuse in the death of the woman’s 7-year-old daughter. Ida Helen Brockman, 30, and Malachi Xavier Whalen, 29, were arrested Friday. They were each charged with one count of murder and one count of child abuse, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Brockman was also charged with one count of torture. No information on an attorney for the couple was available. Los Angeles Times


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San Diego City Council passed an ordinance targeting ghost guns, making it illegal to buy and sell gun parts that cannot be traced by law enforcement. Ghosts guns are do-it-yourself firearms assembled from parts that sometimes come in prepackaged kits. The parts are not classified as guns so they have no serial numbers, making them difficult if not impossible for law enforcement to track. The ordinance prohibits buying, selling or possessing the frame of an unfinished gun unless it has a serial number — treating the unfinished firearm part just like a completed firearm. San Diego Union-Tribune


Identity thieves are targeting foster youths’ COVID relief. Young people in the state’s foster system have received additional help from the government during the pandemic: There are state and federal stimulus checks, expanded tax relief measures and even a new guaranteed basic income. But policy experts and youth advocates in the nation’s most populous state say fraud, scams and lack of access are making it hard for current and former foster youth to receive the money they so desperately need right now, writes reporter Colleen Connolly. The Imprint

An FBI agent shot and killed a man this week in an East Oakland neighborhood, authorities said. A U.S. Marshals Service task force was working an incident, described by Oakland police in a Tuesday night social-media post as “serving a criminal arrest warrant,” when a participating FBI agent shot the man, who was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead. The agent was not hurt; authorities did not identify the agent. East Bay Times

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Extensive growth of the KNP Complex fire tearing through Sequoia National Park prompted evacuations for portions of the foothills community of Three Rivers, and it has risen to the top firefighting priority as containment remained elusive. Composed of the lightning-sparked Paradise and Colony fires, which ignited Thursday amid regional thunderstorms, the KNP Complex fire had ballooned to 7,039 acres with 0% containment by Wednesday. As it exploded rapidly through drought-stricken, bug-killed trees, the fire forced the closure of Sequoia National Park and the evacuation of employees living within it. Los Angeles Times

A sign announces the closure of Sequoia National Park on Tuesday
A sign Tuesday announces the closure of Sequoia National Park, where the KNP Complex fires are burning. Individually named the Colony and Paradise fires, the blazes are burning near the Giant Forest, home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias.
(Associated Press )


A dog named Petey won the “Best in Surf” title at Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 16th annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in Del Mar. A lot of water-loving dogs competed, but the Scottie dog from the event’s “extra small” weight class took home the top prize. Proceeds from the event went to the numerous programs the animal center has to help pets. People

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Los Angeles: So it’s not about the pink lemonade, it’s about the principle. 80 San Diego: For generations, we have not questioned it. 74 San Francisco: We have consumed this nonsensical drink for decades. Cloudy, 64 San Jose: We have put cups of this mysterious magenta into our bodies. 77 Fresno: We never gave it a second thought. 95 Sacramento: What other things are beverages hiding from us?! 84


Today’s California memory is from Nicole Yates:

A friend did me a favor and drove to help me move to L.A. a few years ago from Philly. When she left to go home, the quietness of the neighborhood drove home how alone I really was, 3,200 miles from the only place I have ever lived. I went for a walk to try to relax. As I turned at the end of the block, the trees opened up and over the houses and the sun started to set. I’ve never seen a sunset quite like it. The colors were a swirl of purples and oranges that seemed to last a lifetime even if just a few minutes, it was absolutely hypnotic. When it was over, I made my way home as the streetlights popped on, lighting my path. When I got to my door, I felt a calm wash over me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but somehow I knew this place was where I needed to be. Since then, any time I get to really watch the sunset, it’s like the city reminding me of that.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)


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