After Republicans swung and missed big in last September’s unsuccessful recall of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the incumbent should easily win a second term. The “no” votes to recall him were nearly 62% while just 38% of voters wanted to remove Newsom — almost identical to his historic margin over Republican John Cox in 2018.

Cox, who won only 4% of the vote and finished fifth in the recall replacement ballot question, could still run again but would be setting, even more, millions of dollars from his own pocket on fire if he did. Former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer got 8% of the vote and finished third, and is seriously considering running again as well, he told KTLA in early January.

One person who isn’t running is Larry Elder, the divisive conservative radio host who overwhelmingly finished first among possible replacement candidates. However, his Trump-like qualities gave Democrats the foil they needed to rev up their base and pull out a victory in a race that was once considered to be fairly close.

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