A Crushing Defeat Only Left Larry Elder Hungry for More

Many California voters may be done with the leading recall challenger, but he’s made clear he isn’t done with California

Although Governor Gavin Newsom handily destroyed the recall movement itself rather than any of the 46 candidates bucking to oust him, the outcome has to smart for Larry Elder, the candidate who was expected to (and did) get the biggest share of voter support out of the motley collection challengers.

But while 63.9 percent of voters had chosen to keep Newsom around as of Wednesday afternoon, the right-wing talk show host was the leading loser with 46.9 of recall backers picking him, and he’s threatening to ride that dim lightning all the way to 2022.

“As a former radio host, let me just say this: Stay tuned,” Elder told supporters during his concession speech at a Hilton ballroom in Costa Mesa.

“We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” he promised.

Elder also asked the crowd to “be gracious in defeat” when it jeered the mention of Newsom, but still proceeded to blame the Governor and Democrats for the homeless crisis, rising crime, and surging home costs, for starters.

Elder also mentioned the “bogus Black Lives Matter movement,” telling the throng, “All they want is Black people to think about is oppression, that you are under siege, that you are a victim. Really? In 2021, after we elected the first Black president?”

“He is now the leader of the resistance in California, or at least one of the biggest leaders,” San Diego talk radio host and chair of the Reform California PAC tells the Los Angeles Times. “If he does want to run again, there is no doubt he is the [Republican] nominee. There is simply no doubt.”

However, Rob Stutzman, who was a rep for successful recall candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, indicates that another Elder run will likely be another electoral bonanza for California Dems.

“Any candidate that only appeals to the base, to 32 percent of the electorate, and at the same time energizes a lot of the other 68 percent of voters, that is not going to be helpful for a Republican candidate,” he tells the Times.

One snag in Elder’s next campaign could be that—concession speech not withstanding—he still can’t quite give up on this one. On Tuesday, Elder’s team removed pre-election language from his “Stop CA Fraud” website—which declared that Newsom had already won through a rigged election—but the site is still live to service the needs of any all conspiracy aficionados (Elder claims it’s run by a third party).

Elder told KMJ radio in Fresno on Tuesday, “I have now become a political force here in California in general and particularly within the Republican party. And I’m not going to leave the stage.”

For now, though, Elder’s stage is still the radio. Despite calling himself a “former” host in his speech, he’ll soon return to his show on the Salem Radio Network, where he’s broadcast to 115 stations around the country and roughly 260 other cable and HD platforms.

His boss, Salem senior VP Phil Boyce, couldn’t be happier, telling the Times, “For stations that have now seen this campaign and have seen how good Larry is, it’s time to go back to those stations. I expect that he will pick up stations in the future because of this.”

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.