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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) defeated a Republican-backed effort to remove him, AP projected on Tuesday night.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Tuesday's results highlight the limits of Republicans trying to use Trump tactics in a deeply Democratic state.

  • The campaign of Larry Elder — a conservative radio show host and Black Republican who has embraced Trump and anti-COVID vaccine rhetoric — in particular may have done more to help Newsom than hurt him by motivating Democrats to cast their ballots.

What he's saying: Newsom thanked Californians at a news conference for "overwhelmingly" voting "no" in the election, adding it meant they were saying "yes" to a lot of his policies, such as his pandemic response and environmental, racial, social justice issues.

  • He continued that people had voted "yes" to their "right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression" — a swipe at scaremongering from some conservative figures peddling the Trump-esque lie that the state's election might be rigged.
  • But Newsom added: "We may have defeated Trump, but Trumpism is not dead in this country. The Big Lie, the January 6 insurrection, all the voting suppression efforts that are happening all across this country."

By the numbers: Newsom received more than 5.7 million "no" votes (64.7%) with nearly 75% of precincts reporting just before 3:30a.m. ET, per state figures.

The big picture: Newsom got a boost in the lead-up to Tuesday's election, with several high-profile Democrats joining him on the campaign trail.

  • President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) each made stops in California in recent days. Former President Obama also appeared in a campaign ad.
  • Biden warned voters on Monday that if Newsom was ousted, the state would end up with a "clone of Donald Trump" as governor.

Catch up quick: The recall efforts gained momentum last year as frustration among many conservatives grew over Newsom's COVID-19 restrictions and other policies.

  • Newsom has also been criticized for reportedly misleading the public about the progress his office made in shoring up wildfire prevention.
  • More than 45 candidates were on the recall ballot, including Elder, who emerged as Newsom's biggest threat.
  • The California Republican Party chose not to endorse any candidate in the recall election, hoping the decision would unite their base toward defeating Newsom in the deeply Democratic state.

Flashback: This was the second time in the state's history that a gubernatorial recall campaign succeeded in getting on the ballot.

  • California voters removed Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Newsom and state election data.

Go deeper

21 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota gubernatorial candidate applauds Mike Lindell

(L to R) Mike Lindell and Scott Jensen. Photos: Getty Images/The Jensen campaign

As he campaigned across the state this summer, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen gave props to one of the state's most recognizable — and controversial — Republican figures: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Driving the news: At an event in St. Paul in August, the former state senator bemoaned what he predicted would be a lack of action from Gov. Tim Walz and DFL legislators on election changes sought by Republicans, such as passing a voter ID law and reducing use of mail-in ballots.

Weeks earlier, in Mankato, he told a crowd of Republicans: "Mike Lindell's gonna work his tail off trying to get rid of machines, and we should thank him for that."

The big picture: The "Big Lie," the false claim from Lindell, former President Donald Trump and other Republicans that the 2020 election was "stolen," threatens to undermine the results of future elections and faith in democracy. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020.

  • Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell in February over his baseless claims about voting machines in last year's presidential election, which have been debunked by political and cyber security experts.

What he's saying: In an interview with Axios last week, Jensen said he shares concerns about election integrity in general. But he said his comments were not necessarily an endorsement of Lindell's specific theories related to 2020.

  • "He and I have never talked about that so I wouldn't know what he's saying," Jensen said of Lindell’s efforts.
  • "Let's not play a gotcha game," he added. "Anyone with lawsuits I wish the best of luck."

Of note: Jensen posted a video to Twitter in August featuring a conversation with a state senator about Lindell's "cyber symposium" in South Dakota.

What to watch: Jensen said he views concerns about fair elections as a nonpartisan issue and wants to see paper ballots — not vote-counting machines — used in 2022.

Reality check: Minnesota already uses paper ballots. They're fed through ballot tabulator machines that add up the results.

  • Election officials conduct random audits post-election and check some precinct results by hand.

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight — hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts.

The big picture: Air quality alerts were issued Wednesday for the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.