Conservative pundit Elder gets on California recall ballot, leads all potential Newsom challengers

The recall election is Sept. 14, majority of respondents in poll still undecided.

Updated: July 22, 2021 - 3:10pm

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A California judge has ordered the state to put conservative radio host Larry Elder on gubernatorial recall ballot, with a new poll showing him leading all challengers if residents vote in favor of recalling Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

A Sacramento County judge ruled Wednesday the California Secretary of State had to put Elder on the ballot, after saying he failed to submit all of the required documents before deadline. 

"The politicians in Sacramento know I’m the only candidate who can beat Gavin Newsom," Elder said. "They are afraid, and they are using whatever shenanigans they can to try to trip me up. It won’t work."

In the statewide poll of over 1,000 registered voters, 16% said Elder is the candidate they would you vote for "to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom if he is recalled."

Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they were "undecided," according to the joint poll by Inside California Politics/Emerson College.

Residents moved to recall Newsom through a petition drive, largely of what they considered his mishandling of the state response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elder, who announced last week he was running, submitted his nomination paperwork and five years of tax returns on Friday, the candidate deadline for the Sept. 14 election.

But when the secretary of state’s office released a list of candidates who had met the requirements to qualify for the ballot Saturday, Elder was not among them. The office told Elder's campaign that its candidate's tax returns were incomplete or improperly submitted.Filing tax returns is a new requirement of a law signed by Newsom in 2019.

Elder, who is also an attorney, sued the secretary of state, arguing that the rule should not apply to the recall election because it specifically states that releasing tax returns is a prerequisite for appearing on a primary ballot. He also asserted that if the law did apply, his filings met the requirements. Judge Laurie M. Earl agreed with both arguments, according to The Los Angeles Times. 

John Cox and Kevin Faulconer are tied in second place at 6% in the poll.

"I am waging a legal battle to run as the candidate for Californians who are tired of the partisanship and entrenched interests of Sacramento. I fully expect to be on the final certified list of candidates," Elder also said, according to KRON4 TV.