Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder is headed to court Wednesday in hopes of becoming a candidate in California’s upcoming recall election that could remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Elder announced his campaign July 12, but he was blocked from the contest by state election officials who say the filed incomplete federal tax return information that is required to become a candidate. Elder disputes that, saying he’s the target of political “shenanigans” by Democrats aligned with Newsom who don’t want him on the Sept. 14 ballot.
It’s expected the state will provide additional details on its decision at the afternoon hearing in state Superior Court in Sacramento.
Elder’s case is one of several court scuffles underway as California moves toward finalizing the list of candidates for the election. A preliminary list released Tuesday included 42 candidates.
Elder, a Republican also known for his appearances on Fox News, has said he filed over 300 pages of tax returns with the state.
“I’ve complied with everything the law requires of me to run in this recall election,” Elder tweeted.
The election in the nation’s most populous state will be a marquee contest with national implications, watched closely as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play.
Meanwhile, short of a surprise, virtually the entire field of candidates appears set.
Other Republicans who qualified to run include reality TV personality and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner; businessman John Cox, who was defeated by Newsom in 2018; state lawmaker Kevin Kiley and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who also was headed to court in a dispute over his title on the ballot.
Elder’s lawsuit is seeking an order from a court that would require Secretary of State Shirley Weber to list Elder as a candidate on the final list of candidates Wednesday.
If Elder fails to make the ballot, it would be a setback for recall organizers who hoped for a large field of prominent candidates to attract voters. When Elder announced his candidacy, he immediately became one of the most recognized Republicans in the race, given his years on talk radio as well as appearances on Fox News and other media.
The push to oust the first-term, Democratic governor is largely rooted in frustration with school and business closures during the pandemic that upended daily life for millions of residents.
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