SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tuesday night's quick defeat of the recall showed how strong Governor Gavin Newsom is in California, but what does it mean for the future of the California GOP? The party is regrouping.
More voters decided to leave question two blank than to pick a backup. Larry Elder received the most votes among those who did answer question two, but still only about 25 percent of the overall vote.
"The margin of defeat was far bigger than I thought," Elder said. "That really hurt."
If the Republican Party asked, would Elder step aside and let someone else take the lead in 2022?
"When's the last time any Republican has won anything statewide?" Larry asked. "Not Governor, not Lieutenant Governor, not Controller, not Secretary of State. What! what! Tell me what advice the Republican party could give me that would give me confidence that they have a better idea on how to win in California than I have."
Republican Assemblymember Devon Mathis has the advice.
Mathis said the recall should be a huge wake-up call for the GOP and that the person with the loudest voice should not be leading the party.
"There's this negativity within the party that anything that isn’t exactly the same as what the hard right wants, gets burned to the ground," Mathis said.
He's already getting pushback from constituents and the party by telling everyone it's time to find a candidate Democrats feel comfortable with too.
"There's a reason why the Taco Bell commercial talks about 'Dude, it's the algorithm.' Well, guys, it's the algorithm!" he said. "And the algorithm says a moderate can win in California."
Mathis in part blames political consultants for promoting the loudest in the room.
"There are people out there making money off of running candidates to the right of more central candidates," he said. "It's a fact. Politics is a multi-billion dollar business."
He also points to other states as proof there is a path to victory in California.
"You look at other states like Massachusetts, for example," he said. "They're pretty left and they have Republican governors. How are they able to pull it off?"
Political Analyst Steve Swatt said there's no path in California for Larry Elder.
"I think with his fundraising ability, he would be the leading republican next year in a gubernatorial race. But you have to remember that California is a very deep blue state and a bright red campaign just cannot get someone elected in this state."
The Republican Party of California is gathering together next weekend in San Diego for its fall convention. That's where Mathis said some serious discussions need to happen.