With more than 60 percent of the votes counted, television networks said the Democratic governor would prevail, with two-thirds voting against the repeal.
California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared willing to defend himself against an impeachment effort, US television networks said, outpacing a Republican campaign to unseat him for his liberal policies on immigration, COVID-19 and crime.
With more than 60 percent of the votes counted, NBC, CNN and Fox News said Newsom would prevail, with two-thirds voting against the impeachment effort.
Newsom, a governor in his first term, managed to build support with a flurry of late campaigns.
“I am honored and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians who exercised their fundamental right to vote,” Newsom said in a victory speech Tuesday night in the Sacramento state capital.
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from Beverly Hills, said Californians were bracing for a long night before the results could be announced, but were surprised by the quick results of the polls.
“The result so far indicates a very landslide victory for Gavin Newsom with many voters voting strongly ‘NO’ to recall,” Reynolds said.
In the final days of the race, he appeared alongside President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who previously represented California as a United States Senator and Attorney General.
Late on Tuesday, the results showed Newsom easily won the majority to stay in office.
“It’s not even close,” Dan Morain, a former editor of the Sacramento Bee editorial page, told Al Jazeera. “They (Republicans) were selling something that the vast majority of Californians just wouldn’t buy.”
Republican leading candidate Larry Elder, a black radio talk show host and supporter of former President Donald Trump, garnered about 43 percent of the vote on the part of the ballot that asked who should replace Newsom if he was called to review, the New York Times reported.
Newsom was overwhelmingly elected in 2018.
Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 in the West Coast state, and polls consistently showed a large majority of voters opposed Newsom’s withdrawal.
Democrats complain that the Republican-led impeachment was an attempt to hijack the state government – taking power in extraordinary circumstances when they could never do so on a regular ballot.
A Spectrum News and IPSOS poll published before the results were announced found that two-thirds of registered voters viewed the withdrawal as a political takeover.
“This whole recall is ridiculous,” said Jake, a 38-year-old tech worker, who declined to give his last name.
“I did the math and even if all registered voters turn out, it would cost more than $ 12 per vote,” he said.
“A lot of people could have had that for breakfast this morning.”
California’s only successful retirement brought bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the presidency in 2003.
Schwarzenegger, who ended up running the state for more than seven years, was California’s last Republican CEO.