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Elections Briefing, March 16, 2021: Newsom Recall, Grassley, Netherlands

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Elections Briefing 3-16-21 Newsom Recall Grassley Netherlands

It could all be happening in California soon, and a senator may be encouraged by his voters to find stage left in the Tuesday Briefing.

US Election News

California on Brink of Gavin Newsom Recall Election

It has been 18 years since the last time California went down this road, but it appears Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is about to face a recall election. Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline to submit signatures, anti-Newsom recall backers have said they’ve collected over 2 million. After bogus signatures are invalidated, this may still leave them with enough to force the recall election. As such, Newsom, a first-term governor who would face re-election next year, has vowed to fight for his job.1

How do his prospects look in deep blue California? Not as good as you might think. An Emerson College poll gave Newsom a slight edge to keep his job, however his vote is well below 50 percent.2 With his pandemic response having come under fire in recent months, there will be much debate in California should the recall election proceed. Remember, it’s not just a matter of Newsom being recalled or not as there is a separate gubernatorial election on the ballot, so there is no guarantee at all that Newsom would be replaced by a Republican.

Most Iowans Want Grassley to Step Aside in 2022

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was first elected to the presidency on the same night Ronald Reagan won the White House. 40 years later, he’s still in office and is the second senior-most member of the Senate. Since his first run in 1980, he has not faced a difficult race. That does not, however, mean Iowans would be ready to back him for an eighth term. A Des Moines Register poll said that 55 percent of Iowa voters hope the 87-year old does not seek re-election.3 Maybe 42 years in the Senate is enough for Iowans, but so far, Grassley has not indicated what he intends to do. His retirement, if it happens, would set off a furious Senate race.


International Election News

Dutch Election Marked By Discontent, But PM Leads

On Wednesday, the Netherlands heads to the polls for the third and final day to elect a new government. It is believed, based on opinion polls, that Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his center-right VVD are far ahead of the second-place PVV, the far-right party led by Geert Wilders. However, not everyone in The Netherlands is as jolly as Rutte figures to be on election eve. There have been protests against his strict pandemic lockdown policies and the government was hit in recent times by a scandal involving a botched handling of a child benefits scheme.4

None of this, however, seems to be affecting the government’s sizable lead in the polls. Majority governments in The Netherlands just do not happen, so Rutte and the VVD will need help. However, with a likely increase in seats, they should be able to stitch a coalition together one way or another.

Division Between New CDU Leader & Merkel’s Government Over Election Results

It was bound to happen: the finger-pointing over the disastrous German state elections has begun within the CDU. Its new leader, Armin Laschet, hopes to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in September. One possible way not to go about it is to attack the government of your own party and blame its pandemic response for the poor showing. This includes a scandal involving a Bundestag member who profited off of the sale of face masks.5

He may in fact be right, but he’s taken the helm of a ship that has just hit the dock. The net result, if it continues, could be that sister party CSU leader Markus Söder could be the CDU/CSU pick for the chancellery. He would be the first CSU leader to get the nod since 2002 if it happens.


Election Calendar

Tomorrow is the Dutch election.
4 days until the jungle primaries in LA-02 and LA-05.
7 days until the Israeli election.
9 days until the Newfoundland and Labrador election, twice rescheduled.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. John Myers, “Newsom won’t ‘take this recall attempt lying down’ as Democrats launch defense,” Los Angeles Times, 15 March 2021.
  2. Reid Wilson, “Californians split over Newsom recall: poll,” The Hill, 15 March 2021.
  3. Jesse Naranjo, “Poll: Majority of Iowans do not want Grassley to seek reelection,” Politico, 14 Match 2021.
  4. Jon Henley, “Netherlands election: Mark Rutte set to win big – but what next?,” The Guardian, 15 March 2021.
  5. Guy Chazan, “Laschet blames CDU results on German government’s pandemic response,” Financial Times, 15 March 2021.

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