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California governor fends off Republican-led recall vote



California governor fends off Republican-led recall vote

US politics & policy updates

California governor Gavin Newsom has seen off a Republican-led effort to recall him from office over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis, according to projections of the statewide vote by the Associated Press.

Early results showed 67.7 per cent of California voters rejected the effort to recall Newsom, a Democrat, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote,” Newsom said in the state capital of Sacramento.

To defeat the recall, a majority of voters had to choose “No” on the question of whether Newsom should be removed from office. If the governor had not met that threshold, the challenger with the most votes in the second question of who to replace him would serve out the rest of his first four-year term.

Newsom faced 46 challengers on the ballot, including Larry Elder, host of a syndicated conservative radio show, who was the frontrunner among the candidates seeking to replace Newsom.

In the final days of the campaign Newsom, who won election by a landslide margin of 62 per cent in 2018, said allowing him to remain in office would be a blow against “Trumpism” in the majority Democratic state. A Republican has not won a statewide election in California since 2006.


cost of the 2021 recall vote in California

Newsom’s victory is good news for President Joe Biden, who travelled to California on the eve of Tuesday’s vote to rally voters for the governor.

Biden’s national approval ratings have fallen sharply but an easy Newsom win will ease concerns of a backlash building against the president’s policies, including his measures to arrest the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

It could also reassure Democrats around the US that the political environment was not necessarily stacked against them ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The California recall vote was, however, an imperfect litmus test of the national mood because the state has turned increasingly Democratic in recent years — and because of the unusual nature of the contest.

Newsom struggled in opinion polls during most of the summer but gained steam owing to Democrat alarm at the prospect of a victory by Elder, a supporter of Donald Trump.

National Democrats will look at Newsom’s win as a possible template for elections because the California governor was able to depict Elder as a Trump-friendly conservative with extreme views on mask and vaccine mandates, abortion rights and the validity of elections.

Biden took aim at Elder on Monday night, comparing his policies on climate change, women’s rights and other issues with those of his predecessor in the White House. “You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you get Donald Trump,” he said. “That’s not a joke.”

Recall efforts are common in California and have been launched against every governor since 1960. Only two have met the threshold number of signatures for an election: this year and in 2003, when Democrat Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Newsom saw off five previous Republican-led attempts to recall him. The sixth effort garnered enough signatures after news emerged that he had dined unmasked at The French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley while urging restraint on the public. His standing fell amid frustration at the state’s Covid-19 restrictions, including lengthy public school closures and bans on dining outdoors.

His critics have also attacked his response to the droughts, wildfires and homelessness that have plagued California.

The recall vote has cost the state more than $275m, even though Newsom will face re-election next year. The state’s Democrats are expected to attempt reforming California’s 110-year-old rules governing recalls.

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Police find body ‘consistent with’ Gabby Petito in Wyoming By Reuters



Police find body ‘consistent with’ Gabby Petito in Wyoming By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gabrielle Petito, 22, who was reported missing on Sept. 11, 2021 after traveling with her boyfriend around the country in a van and never returned home, is shown in this undated handout photo. North Port/Florida Police/Handout via REUTERS

By Dan Whitcomb and Maria Caspani

(Reuters) -Crews searching a national park in Wyoming for missing Gabby Petito found a body “consistent” with the 22-year-old woman in a remote area on Sunday but have not yet made a formal identification, the FBI said.

Petito was reported missing after her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, returned home from a months long cross-country trip without her on Sept. 1. Laundrie, 23, has been named a “person of interest” in the case.

“Earlier today human remains were discovered consistent with Gabrielle Petito,” FBI spokesman Charles Jones told reporters at a press conference.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery,” Jones said, adding that the cause of death was yet to be determined.

The Teton County Coroner’s Office said earlier on Sunday that they had been called to retrieve a body from a national forest. Medical examiners there were expected to perform an autopsy which might lead to identification.

Law enforcement officials declined to release any further information.

Gabby’s father, Joseph Petito, posted a photograph of his daughter on Twitter (NYSE:) following Sunday’s press conference. The photo, which shows Gabby standing between two painted wings, was captioned: “She touched the world”

Laundrie returned alone to North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1 in the white van the couple had been driving across the country since June.

On Friday family members of Laundrie told investigators that they had not seen him in three days.

Since then, local police and FBI agents have been combing a 25,000 acre wilderness preserve near North Port but have found no sign of him.

Petito and Laundrie left her home state of New York on their road trip in June, heading west in the van with plans to visit national parks along the way. They documented the trip on social media.

Petito posted her last photo on Aug. 25. Her family believes she was headed to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when they last heard from her. Before disappearing, Laundrie had refused to speak with investigators and retained a lawyer.

Petito was last seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Elon Musk mocks President Biden after SpaceX completes first all-civilian mission



Elon Musk mocks President Biden after SpaceX completes first all-civilian mission

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk poses with the crew before launch on September 15, 2021.

John Kraus / Inspiration4

After SpaceX completed a historic, private spaceflight on Saturday, CEO Elon Musk took a pot shot at President Joe Biden who had yet to remark on the company’s and the civilian flight crew’s accomplishments.

One of Musk’s 60 million followers on the social networking platform Twitter asked him, “The President of the United States has refused to even acknowledge the 4 newest American astronauts who helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for St. Jude. What’s your theory on why that is?”

Musk replied, “He’s still sleeping.”

As CNBC previously reported, SpaceX safely returned its Crew Dragon spacecraft from orbit yesterday. The capsule carried the four members of the Inspiration4 mission back to Earth after three days in space.

One major goal of the Inspiration4 mission was to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It had raised $160.2 million by Saturday. Celebrating after Inspiration4 splashed down, Musk pledged to contribute $50 million personally — pushing the campaign’s total raised to $210 million.

The White House and SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Top NASA officials have congratulated Musk and SpaceX on the Inspiration4 mission. SpaceX competitors acknowledged it too, with accolades from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin and Musk’s peer and rival Jeff Bezos shared on social media.

This marked the first private SpaceX spaceflight, with a non-professional crew. Additionally, the mission involved the first Black woman to serve as a spacecraft pilot, the youngest American to become an astronaut to date, and the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis.

Although Musk recently stated that he “would prefer to stay out of politics,” his quip on Sunday indicated a willingness to needle the Democratic president and repeat a right-wing taunt about Biden.

During his 2020 campaign, former President Donald Trump frequently insulted then-candidate Biden by calling him “Sleepy Joe.”

More recently, Trump sent Biden sarcastic well-wishes ahead of a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June. He said in an e-mailed statement at the time, “Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin— don’t fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards!”

SpaceX generally enjoys a good relationship with the federal government. For example, it won a $2.89 billion contract to build NASA’s next crewed lunar lander, beating out Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Leidos subsidiary Dynetics, and SpaceX has flown 10 astronauts to the ISS for NASA to date. 

However, SpaceX is also under investigation by the Department of Justice after accusations that it discriminated against job applicants based on citizenship status — a probe that began during the Trump administration.

In addition to his responsibilities at SpaceX, Musk is concurrently the CEO of electric vehicle makers Tesla. (Tesla is also a supplier to SpaceX.)

In that capacity, he recently bemoaned a Biden administration proposal that would allocate an extra $4,500 in incentives to buyers of certain, new electric light-duty passenger vehicles. One stipulation of the proposal is that electric vehicles should be union-made, domestically.

While the company operates a battery factory in Nevada, and a vehicle assembly plant in California already, with another under construction outside of Austin, Texas, Tesla is the only major U.S. automaker whose production is not unionized here.

Musk said, on Twitter on September 12, of the proposal: “This is written by Ford/UAW lobbyists, as they make their electric car in Mexico. Not obvious how this serves American taxpayers.”

In’s annual American Made Index for 2021, Tesla’s popular Model 3 electric sedan topped the rankings, and its crossover Model Y landed in third place.

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AEW Is Outselling WWE In New York Market Ticket Sales



AEW Is Outselling WWE In New York Market Ticket Sales

As AEW and WWE continue to promote big shows in the New York market during the month of September, upstart AEW is outperforming New York-based WWE.

AEW and WWE ran successful shows in the New York/New Jersey area this past week. Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite in Newark, N.J. nearly sold out with almost 12,000 ticket sales, while WWE SmackDown’s Sept. 10 broadcast in Madison Square Garden had an announced attendance of 14,425—enough for SmackDown’s biggest gate ever. Both AEW and WWE will run Long Island’s UBS Arena for the first time, within ten days of one another, starting with WWE Raw on November 29.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported “The WWE show sold about 750 on the pre-sale while AEW sold about 4,000 on the pre-sale.” Per WrestleTix (h/t Wrestling Inc), WWE Raw’s debut in the UBS Arena has sold 2,365 tickets while AEW has sold 6,1,67 tickets. With the Summer of Cena now officially over following his loss to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, WWE’s drawing power has suffered. WWE’s full-time roster—which, for over a decade, has been promoted as second-fiddle to stars of the past like Cena and Brock Lesnar—is predictably struggling to attract fans. 

In addition to outselling WWE in its home base, AEW is also enjoying a two-week winning streak over WWE Raw in the 18-49 demographic. AEW Dynamite beat WWE Raw this past week despite Raw featuring two WWE Championship matches and Big E’s Money in the Bank cash-in. Raw’s September 13 broadcast, however, went head-to-head with Week 1 of NFL’s Monday Night Football, which will continue to hobble WWE in viewership throughout the fall.

MORE FROM FORBESAEW Dynamite Ratings: Dynamite Beats WWE Raw In 18-49 Demo Yet Again

AEW is now poised to defeat WWE for a third-straight week ahead of its biggest Dynamite ever in the nearly-sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium. As of this writing, AEW Grand Slam has sold well ver 18,000 tickets for AEW Grand Slam. WWE will return to its emergency glass case Monday on Raw as Roman Reigns and The Usos will take on The New Day. Raw will once again face tough sledding against Monday Night Football, featuring one of the NFL’s biggest stars Aaron Rodgers and public team the Green Bay Packers.  

The story of AEW catching up to WWE is not a story of the wrestling business exploding as it did when WCW toppled WWE in the mid-’90s. This is a story of the overall wrestling audience shrinking, and AEW doing a better job of connecting with pro wrestling’s niche base of mostly hardcore wrestling fans. Both WWE Raw and AEW Dynamite were down double digits this week, with AEW Dynamite falling 11% in overall viewership and 15% in the 18-49 demo. AEW’s precipitous drop in the 18-49 demo (from 681,000 to 574,000) was still good enough to best WWE Raw’s own decline as Raw fell 10% in overall viewership (down 17% in 18-49 viewership).

This is far from the Monday Night Wars. AEW and WWE’s battle for viewership supremacy is closer to a Monday Night Thumb Wars, and a much smaller, male-dominated pro wrestling audience continues to gravitate toward AEW in key business metrics. 

Similar to Monday Nitro, AEW has been effective in rejuvenating and marketing former WWE stars. Free agent signings Adam Cole, Bryan Danielson and CM Punk have all made instant impacts in AEW’s main event picture. All three will be featured on AEW Grand Slam, which is trending towards AEW Dynamite’s biggest television gate in history.

As AEW continues to struggle attracting women, WWE can counter by building its own, much larger, women’s audience. WWE is in position to do just that, currently featuring Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch in a top storyline on SmackDown, while Naomi continues her own racially charged storyline opposite Sonya Deville and “Karen.” AEW, meanwhile, is looking to build a female following with the forthcoming “Rhodes to the Top” reality show featuring Cody and Brandi Rhodes.

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