Solemn remembrances, barbecue lunches and last-minute calls during the last weekend of the recall campaign

Three days before the recall election, California gubernatorial candidates were bending over their final hours to influence voters, making campaign stops to commemorate 9/11, shooting each other and squeezing a few bites of pork frayed.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s campaign landed at a community service center in Oakland on Saturday, where he argued his dismissal would delay work to help underprivileged Californians and undermine efforts to protect the public from COVID-19.

Newsom said Republican candidates seeking to replace him would rescind mask warrants and other protections that have allowed California to reduce hospitalizations and deaths compared to other states.

“The stakes could not be higher,” Newsom told a crowd of some 100 union workers at a noon rally at St. Mary’s Center, which provides housing and food for seniors facing homelessness. , as well as a preschool program for children from low-income families.

“This election is a matter of life and death,” he added. “Public health is on the ballot. Climate science is on the ballot. Social justice is on the ballot.

He pointed to criticize Republican challenger Larry Elder, who leads the polls among replacement candidates.

“He’s always been outside the mainstream. He’s always been on Donald Trump’s right, ”said Newsom, who looked upbeat, wearing dark pants, a shirt with a tie and his sleeves rolled up.

Earlier today, Newsom laid a commemorative wreath at the Heroes’ Wall at National Guard Headquarters in Sacramento, which honors California National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 20 years.

Around the time Newsom was calling him, radio host Elder was making his own appearances to gather the votes a few hundred miles to the south.

“First-time voter, long-time listener,” said Seth De Wees, a 68-year-old homeless veteran, riffing on the old radio hotline as he stood up to shake hands. Elder at Texas Pit Bar-B- Que in Lake Forest.

The 24-and-a-half-year-old National Guard veteran said he listened to Elder’s radio show “from the start” and voted for him as soon as he received his ballot.

After removing his brown tie and rolling up his shirt sleeves, Elder slipped into the green booth next to De Wees for lunch with several other veterans from Veterans Outreach OC.

Elder chatted with the group for about 30 minutes with country music playing in the background and the smell of grilled meat filling the mall restaurant. Elder shared anecdotes about his veteran military father with some of his talking points during the campaign.

Earlier Saturday morning, from the podium at a memorial service in Fullerton, Elder helped read aloud the names of nearly 3,000 people who died 20 years ago in the 9/11 attacks on Saturday. About 100 people, many dressed in red, white and blue, gathered in the middle of a tree-lined street outside the home of firefighter Scott Townley in Fullerton, which also serves as a memorial to fortune at the events of September 11.

The temporary commemoration exhibit – which Townley puts together on his lawn every September – has grown over the years and now features thousands of flags, hundreds of crosses and a tent with photos of the dead.

A handful of memorials and first responders followed Elder as he left the event, crowding close to the contestant for selfies and greetings.

“Sir. Brother, I pray for you,” a woman said as she leaned between campaign staff to shake hands with the candidate. Theresa, who lives in Fullerton and did not want to give her last name, added that she was planning to vote for Elder on Tuesday because she believed he could save California from the “hole” politicians had created.

“He’s not in everyone’s deep pockets,” she said as she walked away.

“We are the only ones around with a sign,” said a woman in a “Land of the Free, Homeland of the Brave” shirt, referring to the “Recall Newsom” sign on her lawn a few doors down as cries of “Good luck, Larry” echoed around her.

In Los Angeles, Republican gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner spent the afternoon touring the Dream Center, a Christian rehabilitation center for the homeless.

Jenner said she heard about the facility through LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and wanted to see an organization “do a great job.” If elected governor, Jenner said, the next round of funding for the homeless would go to organizations like the Dream Center.

“There are so many great organizations doing this where the taxpayer gets a good return on their investment,” she said after the tour. “And we have to support them. Regarding the homeless problem, for me, I’m on the solutions. I want results. I don’t want to know how much money is spent, I want to know how many souls have you saved?

At several points, Jenner stopped to hear testimony from those who say they benefited from the association’s services, including Gravonte Stewart, a 24-year-old Louisiana who told Jenner he arrived at the Dream Center there. is one year old, struggling with addiction.

Jenner listened intently, looking away to take a bite of a corn dog on the blue cafeteria tray in front of her.

“She was down to earth,” said Stewart. “She sat down and had lunch with us. She spoke to me as if I were her peer.

He said he intended to vote but had not yet done so. When asked if he was supporting the recall effort, Stewart paused.

“I don’t know what’s really going on. Is she running for governor? “

After making a splash in the national headlines when she announced her candidacy in April, Jenner’s polls have been dropping steadily. In a recent poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, in collaboration with The Times, it followed only 1%. As for a future candidacy for a position, Jenner said she was “to be decided.”

“I’ll go see what’s going on here first,” she said. “But I will stay involved in politics.”

In addition to using the campaign stop to highlight her take on homelessness, which she described as a major issue affecting Californians, Jenner reiterated that people were leaving the state. She pointed out that California lost a seat in Congress due to a decline in population. State regulations, which Jenner described as hostile to business, drive out residents, she said.

“We are the worst state in the union to do business with,” she said. “It must stop.”

Assembly Member Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) urged voters to recall Newsom, arguing it offered a year-long try of new leadership for the state.

“Take a chance on the change,” he said in an interview after rallying supporters in San José. “We still have a year before we vote again, and this is your chance to try something different.”

Kiley argued that his legislative background gives him the knowledge to get to work immediately if elected governor.

“We have a state government which is totally broken, which has been completely corrupted and which does not serve the people of our state,” he said. “I know exactly how broken things are, how dysfunctional our State Capitol is. I think I would be able to act immediately, to act aggressively and boldly to enact reforms that people would feel in their daily lives. “

Despite the attention paid to competitors, Newsom looked confident on Saturday. Newsom said he was eager to attend a rally on Monday with President Biden, who is coming to campaign with him. This week, Vice President Kamala Harris baffled with Newsom, highlighting his response to the pandemic.

“I am working hard for the next few days, leaving nothing out, nothing to chance, taking it very, very seriously, trying to close this with as much force, passion and force as possible,” he said. .

Recent polls have shown that most voters are in favor of keeping Newsom in power, and the early polls have skewed Democrats. Despite fears of voter apathy over the summer, Democrats and union members have surrendered to massive campaigns to withdraw the vote in recent weeks.

Newsom was joined on Saturday by executives from the Service Employees International Union California, which represents 700,000 workers, including state and city employees, nurses, janitors and school workers.

The union has been a major player in the anti-recall campaign, highlighting its work with Newsom to expand paid family leave, income tax credits and tenant protection from evictions during the pandemic. The union carried dozens of workers in matching purple T-shirts who applauded the ailing governor.

April Verrett, president of the 2015 SEUI local representing long-term care workers, said the recall is based on “fear-mongering and mean racism.”

“Hands off our democracy and hands off our governor,” she said in a message to remind her supporters.

Times editor Seema Mehta contributed to this report.

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