The Charlotte Observer

Harris flies to help governor facing recall vote

- BY FRANCESCA CHAMBERS fchambers@mcclatchyd­

Vice President Kamala Harris had an opportunit­y to try out the administra­tion’s midterm messaging strategy and demonstrat­e her political clout on Wednesday at an event to show support for Gov. Gavin Newsom in the California recall election.

The recall has primarily been about the COVID-19 pandemic and dissatisfa­ction, mainly from Republican­s, of restrictio­ns that Newsom introduced at the height of virus transmissi­on. It has drawn intense national attention and involvemen­t from former presidenti­al contenders, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

“It is in very many senses, I think, a preview of the midterms,” said Brian Brokaw, a longtime Harris political adviser and current Newsom adviser.

Harris is expected to campaign for Democrats in next year’s elections – a role her allies say she enjoys and is well-positioned to resume as her party fights to maintain control of Congress.

Her approval rating slipped over the summer, but she remains a popular figure among Democrats nationally, with nearly 84% giving her favorable marks in polling.

Brokaw said she is “somebody who is skilled at both campaignin­g for her colleagues and landing blows against our opponents,” calling her a “natural campaigner.”

Her visit to California to support Newsom comes a week after the Biden administra­tion removed the last U.S. troops from Afghanista­n. It was reschedule­d after a suicide bombing killed American military personnel in Kabul just prior to her planned campaign trip.

The vice president’s office stressed that the focus of Harris’ remarks in California would be the recall election but did not provide additional details on her speech.

Democrats remain concerned about apathy among Newsom backers in the election that is being conducted by mail and hope the visit by the vice president, who won statewide election three times, will boost votes from California­ns against the recall.

“Turnout is critical, we’ve seen that from the polls,” said Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist. “And that is why she is going to be important to help mobilizing Democratic voters to turn out in the recall election for Gavin Newsom.”

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