SAN FRANCISCO -- As California's gubernatorial recall election nears, Governor Gavin Newsom is touring California for his "Vote NO" Weekend of Action campaign.
The first stop was in San Francisco at Manny's cafe where volunteers were phone banking to rally up support.
Newsom spoke on the potential impacts of having a Republican as a governor including appointments for judges and senators.
"The stakes are profound," Gov. Newsom said.
Several Democrats spoke in support of Newsom at the event including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, State Senator Scott Wiener, and California Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu.
Mayor Breed said the line-up showed that a "spectrum" of Democrats are opposed to the recall.
"We have our challenges in terms of our disagreements in San Francisco," Breed said. "But we are united in our support for the Governor."
Newsom's office sent out a press release Thursday, stating the governor will spend four days traveling to cities up and down the state, rallying voters to "vote no on the recall." The release says the rallies are to prevent a "Trump disciple" from replacing Newsom in office.
Conservative talk show host Larry Elder is currently the leading alternate candidate in the polls. Newsom took direct aim at him during his press conference at Manny's.
"He is to the right of Donald Trump," Gov. Newsom said. "That's what's at stake in this election. And don't think for a second that you can't do damage in that role."
Elder, a well-known conservative talk show host, campaigned in San Jose on Thursday at a church known for defying Santa Clara County's lockdown order last year. At a press conference on Friday, Elder drew contrast with Newsom saying as governor he would repeal all statewide covid mandates.
"At the state level, I'm not going to require any public worker to wear a mask or have a vaccine," Elder told reporters. "I think that's an assault on freedom."
With ballots now in the mail, Newsom's team is hoping to bridge the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans. He is urging Democrats to vote "no" on the first part of the recall ballot, but leave the second part -- which asks voters to pick an alternate candidate -- blank.
YouTuber Kevin Paffrath, one of the few Democrats running a replacement candidate, is against that strategy.
"I quite frankly think it's sabotage," Paffrath told ABC7 News. "Basically, they're gambling with Californians for one year by saying vote nothing on the second question. It's stupid."
Paffrath showed up at the rally, but was asked to leave by the governor's team. Paffrath said he was there to show support for the party -- saying Californians deserve a Democrat option.
In response to a question from ABC7 News, Newsom said he will leave the second question blank when he votes. Asked if he would rather have a Democrat succeed him than Larry Elder, he doubled down on his strategy.
"At the end of the day, we vote no," Newsom said. "The second question is a moot. Doesn't matter."
At each stop Newsom makes, his office says he will be reminding everyone how high the stakes are in this recall election, and how easy it is to vote.
The governor is expected to hold multiple campaign events in Los Angeles and San Diego on Saturday, and in other parts of the state Sunday and Monday. Details about those events have not yet been released.
On Thursday, Newsom received an expression of support from President Joe Biden, who issued a statement urging Californians to oppose the Sept. 14 recall. Newsom "knows how to get the job done because he's been doing it," Biden said of his fellow Democrat. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the former California senator, are expected to take active roles in the campaign.
Newsom said schedules are still being worked out, but voters should expect both President Biden and Vice President Harris to campaign in California in a "matter of weeks."
"We are very grateful of President Biden's statement yesterday," Newsom said. "And we are looking forward to the President and Vice President being out here."
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