Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers a speech during a rally at the Barrio Action Youth and Family Center in El Sereno, where he signed the California Comeback Plan relief bill, on July 13, 2021. Photo by Pablo Unzueta for CalMatters

Boyle Heights voters appear to have sided with the majority of California voters who on Tuesday rejected an effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom – seen by Democrats as an attack on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic coming from conservative, Trump supporters.

Early results show that “No” on the question of whether to recall Newsom is ahead by a wide margin. As of Wednesday, “No” had received 5,934,240 or 63.7% of the votes and “Yes” had 3,380,272 or 36.3 % of the votes.

On an optional second ballot question to choose a candidate to replace Newsom, conservative radio personality Larry Elder led with 2,495,400 or 47.2% of the vote.

State officials said there were still less than 3 million ballots to be counted; official results are to be certified on Oct. 22.

But the “No” vote won by an even wider margin in Los Angeles County: 70.8% voted “No” compared to 29.3% voting “Yes.”

Most of the precincts in Los Angeles –including all of the precincts in Boyle Heights and East LA– rejected the recall, according to an interactive map updated with daily results by the Los Angeles Times. In one Boyle Heights precinct, the “No” vote was as high as 88.9% Wednesday.

Boyle Heights Beat spoke to several voters who cast their ballots Tuesday afternoon at a voting center at Méndez High School..

Santiago Momay, 58, said he voted because he thought it was unfair that some groups were trying to take Newsom out of office.

“He’s better, he’s helping our community and we want him to stay,” Momay said in Spanish. 

The resident of the Las Casitas neighborhood said that he felt it was his duty to participate in the election. “Anyone who can vote has to come out and vote,” he said.

That sentiment was shared by 20-year-old Boyle Heights resident Nicholas Hernández, who showed up to vote with his father, Rick Hernández.

“I feel like it’s important for us to show up today,” said the younger Hernández, who declined to say how he voted.

His 48-year-old father, also a Boyle Heights resident, did say he voted against the recall.

“With them trying to recall the governor for him trying to keep us safe, I think it’s ridiculous,” the elder Hernández said. “But you know, it’s just a power grab by the Republicans, I feel.”

A 26-year-old downtown resident who identified herself only as Kendall said that she voted against the recall because she was opposed to the process.

“We have an election coming up soon…  a chance to actually cast a ballot,” she said. “I don’t like how the California system works. It doesn’t make much sense to me.”

Not everyone interviewed for this story rejected the recall.

Thelma Montijo, a 29-year-old Boyle Heights resident, said she voted “Yes” on the recall question and voted for Larry Elder as a Newsom replacement.

“I think that it’s necessary [to recall Newsom] because we live in the United States of America, where the constitution and freedom should come first,” Montijo said.

“I don’t think that that’s the policy that he was following,” referring to Newsom’s support of vaccination and mask mandates. “I think we should have somebody who will respect the legislation and the laws, because the laws are what matter. And I need someone in office who’s going to abide by them.” 

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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