By KATHLEEN RONAYNE and MICHAEL R. BLOOD Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California’s recall election was a resounding victory for Gov. Gavin Newsom as it bolstered the state’s political divisions: Democratic governor garnered broad support in coastal areas and centers urban, while the rural and agricultural north inland, with far fewer voters, largely wanted him to leave.
“It’s almost like two states,” political scientist Melissa Michelson of Menlo College said.
Although California is a liberal stronghold where Democrats occupy all state offices and have a two-thirds majority in the legislature, it is also home to deeply conservative areas. These residents have long felt alienated from Sacramento, where Democrats have been in complete control for over a decade.
A conservative movement in far northern California has sought for years to split up and create its own state to better reflect the region’s political sensitivities.
While Republicans are still in a position to win some local elections, the party has not won a statewide race since 2006. Last year then-President Donald Trump won got 6 million votes in California in 2020 – more than any other Republican presidential candidate before him – but still lost in a landslide against Democrat Joe Biden, who won nearly 64% of the vote.
Republicans hold only 11 of 53 state seats in the United States, but their strongholds lack enough votes to defeat Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and other Democratic regions in the election statewide. And counties like San Diego and especially Orange, the second and third most populous respectively, were once predominantly Republicans but no longer are.