Larry Elder takes GOP fundraising lead in California recall race

The recall election will be held on Sept. 14

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Conservative radio show host Larry Elder has surged to the lead in Republican fundraising efforts in his campaign to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election. 

"The numbers announced by my campaign today solidify my candidacy to defeat Gavin Newsom in the upcoming recall election," Elder said in a statement Thursday. "Californians have shown up and believe in our mission to recall Newsom and elect me in his place. Newsom can raise an unlimited amount of funds for this election; therefore, every single donation to my campaign counts, whether small or large."

He has raised $4.5 million for his campaign in just 19 days, eclipsing his Republican rivals. Elder has averaged $235,000 in funds each day since he entered the race on July 12, according to campaign filings. 

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He ended the month of July with $2.3 million of funds after covering other expenses. The recall election will be held on Sept. 14. 

Meanwhile, a committee opposing the recall of Newsom has fundraised $46 million through the end of July, with about $26 million available in the bank. 

Elder has also eclipsed other high-profile Republicans in polling, receiving 18% support from likely voters. While former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox both received 10% support in the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies/Los Angeles Times survey

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Elder has criticized the embattled Democratic governor during various campaign events, including last Saturday when he took aim at Newsom for "ignoring science" during the pandemic

​​"Where do I start about the job this man, Gavin Newsom, has done in the last two years?" Elder told supporters in the Pacific Palisades.

He has also slammed the incident that helped spark Newsom’s recall: Photos from November showing the Democratic governor dining in a swanky restaurant maskless and surrounded by people from outside of his own household. 

"He incurred a $12,000 wine tab," Elder said of the dinner. "That's just for the wine."

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"He was sitting with the very same lobbyists and medical professionals who drafted the mandates they were violating by not wearing masks and by not socially distancing," he continued, calling it "hypocrisy."

Republican National Committee members Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel urged Republican delegates to not yet endorse a candidate, according to an email dated Friday and obtained by the Associated Press.

"The polls are showing that the recall is in a statistical tie and we cannot afford to discourage voters who are passionate about a particular candidate, yet may not vote because their favored candidate didn’t receive the endorsement," they wrote.

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"Any of our GOP candidates would be superior to Gavin Newsom. We believe that the voters should decide his replacement, which will not only ensure a higher turnout of recall proponents but give Newsom’s successor the best chance of reelection in 2022."