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California GOP leaders decide not to endorse any candidate in recall election

Republican leaders in California on Saturday voted to not endorse any one candidate in the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Republican leaders have decided not to endorse any one candidate in the upcoming recall election on Sept. 14 that could remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.  

Delegates with the California Republican Party agreed to the plan on Saturday morning, saying they chose to focus on the recall effort itself, rather than a single candidate. Prior to the vote, state party leaders were set to decide if they should endorse one of four candidates: Larry Elder, Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Kiley, or Doug Ose.

“Today’s overwhelming decision by our delegates to offer no endorsement speaks to the strength of our field of candidates and the outstanding position our party is in going into the recall election,” CAGOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement.

The recall ballot includes 46 candidates, including Republican politicians, media celebrities, activists and Californians from all walks of life.

Saturday's vote to not endorse a candidate follows a push from two powerful California Republicans. In an email obtained by The Associated Press, GOP national committee members Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel urged party delegates not to endorse a candidate.

With a large field of GOP contenders, they said the party shouldn't risk discouraging voters whose favorite candidates might get snubbed. 

Recall election dates & ballot questions

The recall election is set for Sept. 14 with ballots going out in the mail by Aug. 16. Voters will be asked two questions. The first requires a yes or no answer. It asks: “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”  

A yes vote is against Newsom and is to kick him out of office. A no vote is for Newsom and to keep him as governor.   

The second part allows you to pick one replacement candidate from a list. It says: “Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:” 

The list doesn’t include Newsom, so you can’t vote for him.

If more than 50% of voters say no, Newsom continues as governor; his term ends on Jan. 2, 2023.  

If more than 50% of voters say yes, Newsom will be removed from office. Then whoever has the most votes among the replacement candidates — no matter how few and even if they don’t win a majority — will become governor in late October for the rest of Newsom’s term. 

WATCH MORE: California Republicans clash in 1st debate in Newsom recall