- The Washington Times
Friday, August 27, 2021

Former California Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero has endorsed Republican recall candidate Larry Elder, making her the highest-profile Democrat to break ranks as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political fate hangs in the balance.

“Yes, I’m a Democrat,” Ms. Romero says in a 30-second video ad. “But the recall of Newsom is not about political parties. It’s about Newsom. Larry Elder for governor.”

The ad released this week comes with polling showing Democratic voters less engaged than Republican voters in the Sept. 14 special election in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1.

Ms. Romero, who served in the state legislature from 1998 to 2010, has broken with her party before on school choice as an advocate of charter schools.

She was the author of the “parent-trigger” law allowing parents whose children attend low-performing public schools to convert them into charters.

“I’m Gloria Romero. I was the majority leader of Democrats in the state Senate,” she said in the ad. “I believe in charter schools and school choice, so does Larry Elder. Not Gavin Newsom. He shut our public schools while he sent his own kids to private school.”

Mr. Elder, a longtime Los Angeles radio host and school-choice advocate, said the “mismanagement and tyrannical reign of Gov. Newsom has destroyed our way of life for so many Californians.”

“The recall effort is a nonpartisan movement because the current state of California is not the fault of its people,” he said in a Thursday statement.

Mr. Newsom has accused GOP partisans of fomenting the “Republican recall” and urged voters to leave blank the second part of the recall ballot listing alternative candidates, a strategy being second-guessed by political analysts as polls show likely voters split on whether to oust the first-term governor.

Mr. Elder leads the 46-candidate recall field in most polling, while real estate millionaire and YouTube host Kevin Paffrath tops the Democratic field.

Ballots in the all-mail election were sent out Aug. 16, the same day a convicted felon was arrested after police found him passed out in his car in Torrance with more than 300 unopened ballots, drugs and a loaded firearm.

“Investigators are trying to figure out how the election ballots ended up in the suspect’s vehicle and what their intent was in having them,” said the Torrance Police Department in an Aug. 23 statement. “In the meantime, those who were identified through this investigation will be receiving a new election ballot. This incident is not tied to any additional thefts of election ballots.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.