The California Republican Party kicked off its weekend of action at Newhall Park in Santa Clarita on Saturday, the first day of in-person voting, leading up to the gubernatorial recall election on Sept. 14.
Approximately 45 people gathered to canvass Santa Clarita neighborhoods to turn out the vote in support of recalling California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.
Representatives from the Republican National Committee and the state GOP offered a quick training on how to use canvassing tools to reach voters before hearing short speeches from Santa Clarita Republican state legislators Sen. Scott Wilk and Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, and Palmdale Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey.
Wilk became emotional as he talked about the how Democratic approaches to the issues of homelessness and housing “are creating a dystopia here in California.”
“It means that my daughter, her husband, and my only grandchild moved out of state, because they could not afford to live in Santa Clarita,” he said. “They are paying more in rent than I pay for a $900,000 home. How are people going to get in the middle class if they can’t save and earn and invest? It’s just outrageous what’s going on and (Newsom and Democrats) don’t care.”
Valladares said Newsom and the Legislature are passing bills that have hurt law enforcement morale. She said it’s important to have a “strong governor” in office “to veto the hundreds of bad bills going through the Legislature.”
“What this really is about and why you’re out here this morning, it’s about our kids. It’s about our families. It’s about our communities, it’s about our state,” Valladares said. “Our kids have lost two years of quality and precious time in their education. Our communities are no longer safe.”
Lackey, a former California Highway Patrol officer, told canvassers that public safety should be a nonpartisan issue. He criticized Newsom for placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California and rules that release offenders early.
“Look what’s happened to our crime rates,” Lackey said. “He and (L.A. County District Attorney) George Gascón are not only great friends, but they believe in the same policy that’s hurting, hurting, hurting our communities throughout the state.”
Jessica Millan Patterson, the California GOP chairwoman, said she’s seen recall supporters “fired up.”
“We have a huge opportunity come Sept. 14 and that’s what today is about, today is about turning out our voters,” she told canvassers. “I feel like California could be that call for the entire nation about, ‘We saw what we did wrong here and now we’re changing it.’”
Ruth Aldridge, of Santa Clarita, was one of the canvassers in Newhall Park. She said California “is like a patient on life support.”
“Either the government controls us or we control the government,” she said of the message she had for her neighbors. “And right now the government’s controlling and it’s time to take our government back.”
Aldridge said he likes Larry Elder, a conservative talk show host, who is the current frontrunner to replace Newsom should a majority of California voters recall the governor.
“He stands for everything I believe in and he’s got integrity,” she said. “He’s got common sense, which is not so common anymore. And he’s willing to stand up to people that don’t agree with him.”
Jack Schaedel and his son Luke drove up from La Cañada Flintridge to canvass in Santa Clarita.
“Newsom has shifted public policy radically leftward, particularly in the area of labor and employment,” said Schaedel, an employment attorney.
He said he’s going to support the Republican who’s most likely to win.
“Currently that looks like Larry Elder, but I don’t like to vote too early if there’s a chance that my candidate won’t still be there,” he said, citing candidates who dropped out before voting concluded in the 2020 Republican presidential primary.
Schaedel’s son, a high school freshman, was critical of Newsom for his approach to education during the pandemic.
“I’m pretty angry with Gavin Newsom shutting down schools for so long,” he said. “I was in school on virtual learning and I feel like it was very ineffective and I didn’t learn as much as I could.”
Carlo Basail, of Agua Dulce, said he’s supporting Larry Elder.
“(Elder) has been a cultural warrior for conservatives for the last 25 to 30 years on radio,” he said. “He basically grew up in the same socioeconomic class that I did.”
Basail said he’s supporting the recall of Newsom because of the restriction he placed on churches during the pandemic.
“The California governor says, ‘You know you are a non-essential business and you’re going to be closed down,’” he said. “And I was like, ‘Say what?’”