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Morning Digest: Newsom’s top ally pumps $3 million more into anti-recall effort amid tight polling

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

CA-Gov: With the Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom looking close in most polls–;and even succeeding in one survey earlier this month–;the Democratic Governors Association is contributing another $3 million to Newsom’s cause. As analyst Rob Pyers of the California Target Book notes, that sum comes on top of the $1.5 million the DGA has already given and makes the group “the largest single contributor” to Newsom’s campaign committee, which has brought in $62 million to date.

One new poll, though, is at odds with previous data: Democratic pollster Change Research, in a survey it says it conducted in-house, sees the recall failing by a 57-42 margin among those who say they’re likely to vote or already have. That’s by far the most favorable finding for Newsom among likely voters since before the summer. The survey also finds conservative radio host Larry Elder taking 27% on the replacement question, with his nearest opponent, Democrat Kevin Paffrath, far back at 6.

While Newsom and his allies are behaving as though Change’s numbers are an outlier and fighting accordingly, a federal lawsuit filed by a pair of California voters aiming to upend the recall entirely has been rejected. Plaintiffs had argued that the state’s unusual recall law is unconstitutional because Newsom could (and likely will) earn more votes from recall opponents on the first question than the winning replacement candidate will garner on the second question.

Campaign Action

In a recent op-ed, renowned constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, who is the dean of UC Berkeley’s law school, argued that this possibility would violate the principle of “one person, one vote,” since voters on the replacement question would have greater influence than those on the recall question. The court, however, ruled that the recall’s structure does not dilute the plaintiffs’ vote, and said that including Newsom’s name on the second question (as plaintiffs had asked) could allow “an officer recalled by a majority” to “be immediately returned to office by a slim plurality.”

Senate

GA-Sen: A former girlfriend of newly minted GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker told police that Walker said he would “blow her head off” and then “blow his head off” when she sought to break up with him in 2012, according to a police report obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Walker’s campaign denied the allegations made by Myka Dean, who died in 2019, and charges were never filed by authorities in Irving, Texas, where the report was made.

This is now the second time Walker has been accused of threatening to murder a romantic partner. Last month, the Associated Press reported that Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, had secured a restraining order against him in 2005; in an affidavit supporting her application to the court, Grossman’s sister wrote that Walker said “he was going to shoot my sister Cindy and her boyfriend in the head.” Walker has denied Grossman’s claim as well.

House

SD-AL: State Rep. Taffy Howard, who’s been considering a primary challenge to Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson, is “likely to make an official announcement in the coming weeks,” according to KYNT. While Howard hasn’t been particularly specific in her criticisms of the incumbent, she’s a vocal advocate of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and has suggested that Johnson hasn’t fought vigorously enough to stamp out “fraud.”

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