President Joe Biden will make a long-touted visit to California Monday in support of Gov. Gavin Newsom, with the pair set to speak in Long Beach one day ahead of the deadline to return ballots and vote in the gubernatorial recall election.
Biden and Newsom’s appearance at Long Beach City College will be the final rally of the governor’s campaign to defeat the recall effort. Tuesday is the deadline for voters statewide to cast a ballot or return their vote-by-mail ballot.
Due to the presidential visit, traffic was a little heavier in parts of Long Beach Monday, and those issues will continue into Tuesday. Long Beach officials warned motorists to expect delays throughout the city until noon Tuesday due to street closures.
People trying to access the downtown area were urged to use Third or Seventh streets.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia took to Twitter last week to hail the pending Biden visit.
“We are going to do everything we can to beat this recall over the next few days — and we are creating a national roadmap for Democrats to win in 2022. Take on anti-vaxxers, defend mask mandates, stand up for science and protect public health,” Garcia wrote.
Newsom has been stepping up his campaign activities in recent days, campaigning in Northern California last Wednesday with his longtime ally, Vice President Kamala Harris.
Republican talk show host Larry Elder, the leader in the polls to replace Newsom if the recall is successful, dismissed the high-level support for the governor.
“If Gavin Newsom thinks that flying in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — not exactly the most admired government officials at the present time — will make him look better, that’s all you need to know about how oblivious and detached Newsom is from a large majority of Californians,” Elder tweeted last week.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, another Republican candidate on Tuesday’s ballot, also dismissed the president’s planned visit.
“Washington, D.C., is not going to save Gavin Newsom,” Faulconer said. “He wants to make it about anything else but him. This recall is a referendum on Gavin Newsom’s failure. That’s why so many Californians not only signed the recall petition, but that’s why Californians in all parts of the state, all party registrations, are ready for a change at the top.”
Elder attended a pair of events in the Los Angeles area on Monday, with another stop planned in San Pedro Monday afternoon and a volunteer rally planned in Costa Mesa Monday night. During a morning appearance in Monterey Park, Elder repeated many of the recall’s themes — criticism of Newsom’s handling of issues such as homelessness, crime and the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing him of “ignoring science” in the imposition of business and school closures.
Elder also shot back at recall critics who have labeled it a “Republican” movement.
“There are 2 million people that signed that petition,” Elder said. “A good quarter of them to a third of them were the people who voted for him just two years earlier. I’m talking about Independents and Democrats. Sixty-three percent of Hispanics voted for him two years ago. Now the majority of Hispanics want him out.”
Newsom on Monday morning again took to social media to urge voters to reject the recall, writing, “Tomorrow CA has the power to stand up for progress. For science. For women’s rights. For immigrant rights. For commonsense gun safety. Tomorrow we can show the rest of the nation that we won’t let Republicans drag our state backwards. Make sure your voice is heard.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, more than 8 million vote-by-mail ballots have already been returned statewide as of Sunday. Nearly 22.4 million were sent to voters.
Biden is expected to spend the night in the Southland, then depart for Denver on Tuesday morning for an event to tout his “Build Back Better” economic recovery agenda.
Earlier Monday, Biden stopped in Boise, Idaho, for a visit to the National Interagency Fire Center. He is scheduled to stop in Sacramento Monday afternoon to “survey wildfire damage,” according to the White House.