Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media

Johnnie Morgan, President of The California Republican Assembly

(CBM) – To no avail, the California Republican Assembly (CRA) says it has been trying to organize a debate between Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles-based conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder ahead of the gubernatorial recall election Sept. 14.

Elder is the only Black candidate among GOP frontrunners vying to replace Newsom in the upcoming California recall election. He has also almost consistently polled among the top three choices of Californians who support removing the current governor from office.

CRA President Johnnie Morgan, who is also African American, said he reached out to several political organizations and media outlets around the state attempting to make the Newsom-Elder faceoff happen. All of them, he says, returned with a similar response: that timing would not permit a public discussion.

“No one was interested at this time to host it,” Morgan said. “We were looking to have a debate just between Elder and Newsom. It would only be fitting that (Elder) would be allowed to tell people why he’s the best person to take over that position. And Newsom could tell people why he should remain in that position and defend his record.”

For much of his campaign to replace Newsom, Elder’s team has had to assume a defensive stance, explaining disparaging statements he has made about Blacks, women, climate change and other topics. The state is also investigating whether he improperly disclosed some of his sources of income.

Elder’s ex-fiancée Alexandra Datig, a former high class call girl who worked for Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, has also accused Elder of verbal and emotional abuse. One incident, she claims, involved Elder intimidating her with a .45 revolver gun. The candidate has dismissed Datig’s allegations, calling them a “distraction.”

By now, most Californians have received a vote-by-mail ballot and have begun to turn them at ballot boxes, county voting centers or by mail.

As the race heats up, Elder has been on the campaign trail making his case and telling voters why he is the best candidate to be the next Governor of California.

He has convinced one high-profile state Democrat who endorsed him last week. Former California State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, a Democrat who represented the 24th district in Los Angeles County, endorsed Elder at the end of August. Romero was a state lawmaker from 1998 to 2010, serving in both the Assembly and Senate. She and former state Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, a Republican, participated in a news conference last week to announce their support for Elder.

Romero, a school-choice advocate, said she “along with about 1.7 million Californians, signed the recall petition” that triggered the election to recall Newsom.

“This election, let’s be clear, is not about political parties. This not about a rightwing controversy,” Romero said in her opening statement. “This is about Californians using our voice and our rights in a recall process that some of the party elites tried to stifle, but the people came through. It’s time for a change. We can do better.”

“At the end of the day, we need some shaking up in Sacramento,” Maldonado said. “What better than a gentleman, a brother from South Central Los Angeles who gets up every day to make a difference around our country and around our state. (Elder) you are the solution for Californians.”

The CRA endorsed Elder, an attorney, author, and broadcaster, for governor at its convention last month in Valencia. CRA, founded in 1935, is the oldest Republican volunteer organization in California that endorses Republican candidates. Charted by the Republican party, CRA has close to 2,000 members and 43 chapters across the state.

Under CRA bylaws, endorsement of statewide candidates requires the support of two-thirds of the delegates at the convention.

Elder garnered the support of 68% of the delegates.

As California’s oldest and most influential Republican volunteer organization, Morgan said, CRA’s endorsement is “coveted” for those candidates who meet the organization’s high standards — conservative, principled, electable, and the overwhelming choice of CRA’s membership.

“The other (Republican) candidates have good records and they have been working for the party,” Morgan said, explaining why CRA chose Elders. “But none of them have distinguished themselves to the extent that Elder has. Elder would be the governor for the people.”

On the gubernatorial recall ballot, on the first question, Morgan urges a YES vote to remove Newsom from the office of governor. On the

second question, CRA endorses Elder to succeed Newsom as governor if he is recalled.

“So many businesses have left California due to Newsom’s policies,” Morgan said. “Some of those people that took off are probably thinking they acted prematurely. He is just making life more difficult for citizens. Especially for people with average means and who are business-minded.”

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