Claims against Elder: Will they harm him in Calif. recall?

Aug 20, 2021, 4:39 PM | Updated: Aug 21, 2021, 6:09 am

In this undated photo provided by Alexandra Datig, Larry Elder, a Republican candidate in the recall against Gov. Gavin Newsom poses with Datig his former fiancee. Datig said Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, that Elder once displayed a gun to her during a heated argument in 2015. Elder said he never brandished a gun at anyone. (Courtesy of Alexandra Datig via AP)

(Courtesy of Alexandra Datig via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A day after facing allegations that he emotionally mistreated a former fiancee, Republican Larry Elder scheduled two weekend rallies and showed no outward signs of altering the course of his campaign in the California recall election that could remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.

The longtime talk radio host who could be the state’s first Black governor is scheduled to gather with supporters in Newport Beach on Saturday and Clovis, in the Central Valley, on Sunday. Both are places receptive to his conservative message; Newport Beach is a longtime Republican stronghold, and Clovis is in the district of Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes.

Elder tweeted Thursday that he was “more energized than ever to fix this state” and described claims of improper behavior in his former relationship with Alexandra Datig as “salacious allegations.”

Datig’s allegations surfaced at a time when there seem to be few hard rules about personal conduct and consequence for politicians and public officials. How Elder maneuvers through the wave of unwelcome headlines will test his front-runner status.

It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the Datig’s assertions might have on the contest. On Thursday night, hours after the story broke, three of Elder’s Republican rivals debated and the issue never came up. Newsom hasn’t mentioned it, though his campaign has called Datig’s statements “serious allegations.”

Later Friday, Republican candidate Kevin Faulconer — who was silent on the issue in Thursday’s televised debate — said in a statement that Elder should withdraw from the race, calling him “unfit to serve.” In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Elder gave no indication he was considering leaving the contest and said Democrats were panicked that “California can elect a conservative governor.”

Voters ultimately will pass judgment on Elder in the Sept. 14 election. Mail-in balloting already has begun.

“I think strong conservatives are most likely to dismiss these sorts of charges as false, and as driven by opponents of Elder who want to take him down. This is a highly partisan issue,” Menlo College political scientist Melissa Michelson said.

Overall, “these allegations are unlikely to have much of an impact. Despite the victories of the #MeToo movement, voters do not seem inclined to punish politicians based on these sorts of claims,” she added in an email.

In recent decades, California voters have turned a mostly indifferent eye to sexual indiscretions by politicians, including Newsom, who while mayor of San Francisco had an affair with his then-appointments secretary, who at the time was married to his campaign manager. The issue came up only fleetingly in his 2018 run for governor.

Just days before Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor in a 2003 recall election, the Los Angeles Times reported six women, some of whom worked with him on movie sets, said he groped them. Initially, his campaign denied he engaged in improper conduct but shortly afterward Schwarzenegger apologized while disputing some of the allegations.

Kim Nalder, a professor of political science at California State University, Sacramento, said the allegations against Elder have the potential to change some voters’ minds, especially those who are just tuning in and didn’t know much about Elder. But it’s unlikely to sway many voters who already have settled on Elder.

“The type of folks who likely back him are Trump voters, they aren’t dissuaded by accusations of sexual impropriety or mistreatment of women,” she said.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, a 2005 recording of Donald Trump surfaced in which he bragged about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with various women. The taped conversation surfaced roughly a month before the election in which he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump also had a long history of making lewd comments toward and about women.

Sean Walsh, a lawyer and Republican who was Schwarzenegger’s press secretary during the 2003 recall, said he doubted Elder would suffer much fallout. He said if voters are motivated enough to fire Newsom “they are more than willing to be forgiving of certain indiscretions” in candidates who want to replace him.

Walsh said the public can be especially lenient of celebrities such as Schwarzenegger, and Elder can claim a measure of Hollywood sparkle from his many years on talk radio and appearances on Fox News.

“Whatever that Teflon thing is that comes with celebrity, he’s got some of it,” Walsh said.

California voters are being asked whether Newsom should leave office and who should replace him. If a majority vote for the recall, then the replacement will be whoever gets the most votes among 46 candidates. A winner could emerge with 25% support or less. Schwarzenegger won with 48.6% of the vote in 2003.

Datig, in documents and an interview with The Associated Press, sketched a portrait of a strained 18-month romantic relationship in which Elder was overly controlling and routinely used medicinal marijuana to excess. She claims Elder showed her a gun during a heated 2015 argument; Elder denies he ever brandished a gun at anyone. She said she never reported the incident to police and moved out after they agreed on a financial settlement.

Elder did not specifically address the claim about marijuana use in questions submitted to his campaign by AP.

Datig, 51 and a longtime Los Angeles resident who has been active on political causes, supports one of Elder’s Republican rivals, Faulconer, a former San Diego mayor. She endorsed Faulconer on her blog on Aug. 5, then emailed his campaign’s press account to let them know about her backing and to express “great concern over Larry Elder’s character and treatment of her,” Faulconer campaign spokesman John Burke said Friday.

Faulconer said Friday he has never spoken to Datig and called her allegations disturbing and said they need to be investigated. Asked if Datig’s outreach factored in Faulconer’s decision to criticize Elder’s record on women, which he began doing Tuesday, the former mayor didn’t answer directly and reverted to his criticism about Elder’s statements about women in the workplace.

Rob Stutzman, who was communications director for Schwarzenegger during the 2003 recall, said he doesn’t see the allegations against Elder as similar to Schwarzenegger. These involve a domestic dispute and a gun allegedly was involved.

Stutzman said some voters were skeptical of the Schwarzenegger allegations because they came so close to Election Day.

“I think people thought it was late, people thought a lot of the stories were uncorroborated, there’s vendettas in Hollywood,” he said.

___

Ronayne reported from Sacramento.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Republican Kevin Faulconer, a candidate for governor in the California recall election, leaves the state Capitol after meeting with supporters in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Faulconer continued his criticism of Republican rival Larry Elder over past comments he's made about women in the workplace. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
            
              Republican Kevin Faulconer, a candidate for governor in the California recall election, addresses supporters at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Faulconer continued his criticism of Republican rival Larry Elder over past comments he's made about women in the workplace. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
            
              Republican Kevin Faulconer, a candidate for governor in the California recall election, talks with reporters during a campaign stop at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Faulconer continued his criticism of Republican rival Larry Elder over past comments he's made about women in the workplace. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
            
              In this undated photo provided by Alexandra Datig, Larry Elder, a Republican candidate in the recall against Gov. Gavin Newsom poses with Datig his former fiancee. Datig said Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, that Elder once displayed a gun to her during a heated argument in 2015. Elder said he never brandished a gun at anyone. (Courtesy of Alexandra Datig via AP)
            
              FILE  — In this July 13, 2021 file photo, radio talk show host Larry Elder, center, poses for selfies with supporters during a campaign stop in Norwalk, Calif. Alexandra Datig, Elder's former fiancee said Thursday, Aug. 19 that Elder once displayed a gun to her during a heated argument in 2015. Elder said he never brandished a gun at anyone. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
            
              FILE — In this July 12, 2021 file photo radio talk show host Larry Elder speaks during his show, in Burbank, Calif. Alexandra Datig, Elder's former fiancee said Thursday, Aug. 19 that Elder, a candidate for governor in the Sept. 14 recall election, once displayed a gun to her during a heated argument in 2015. Elder said he never brandished a gun at anyone. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
            FILE -- In this July 13, 2021 file photo radio talk show host Larry Elder poses for pictures with supporters during a campaign stop in Norwalk, Calif. Alexandra Datig, Elder's former fiancee said Thursday, Aug. 19 that Elder once displayed a gun to her during a heated argument in 2015. Elder said he never brandished a gun at anyone. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

AP

A customer holds whale meat purchased from a vending machine at Kyodo Senpaku's unmanned store, Thu...
Associated Press

Japan launches whale meat vending machines to promote sales

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its controversial products, has found a new way to cultivate clientele and bolster sales: whale meat vending machines. The Kujira (Whale) Store, an unmanned outlet that recently opened in the port town of Yokohama near Tokyo, houses three machines for whale […]
24 hours ago
The Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 passes the High Class Racing ORECA LMP2 07 in a turn during a p...
Associated Press

IMSA takes North American sports cars into hybrid era

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Cadillac growls, while the Porsche and BMW scream. The Acura sounds like an Indy car, and for fun, turn your back to the track and listen carefully as the cars roar around Daytona International Speedway in a new era of IMSA sports car racing. The top prototype class has […]
24 hours ago
A new Jeep is delivered to a dealership in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. On Friday, the Comm...
Associated Press

US inflation and consumer spending cooled in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge eased further in December, and consumer spending fell — the latest evidence that the Fed’s series of interest rate hikes are slowing the economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 5.5% year-over-year […]
24 hours ago
Mass timber affordable home prototypes are shown at the Port of Portland in Portland, Ore. Friday, ...
Associated Press

Oregon pins hopes on mass timber to boost housing, jobs

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Inside a warehouse at the industrial Port of Portland lies what some believe could be the answer to Oregon’s housing crisis — a prototype of an affordable housing unit made from mass timber. Once mass-produced at the factory being planned at the port, the units ranging from 426 square feet (40 […]
24 hours ago
FILE - The seal of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System is displayed ...
Associated Press

Wyoming crypto bank’s Federal Reserve application denied

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Federal Reserve Board has denied a Wyoming cryptocurrency bank’s application for Federal Reserve System membership, officials announced Friday, dealing a setback to the crypto industry’s attempts to build acceptance in mainstream U.S. banking. Many in crypto have been looking to Cheyenne-based Custodia Bank’s more than 2-year-old application as a bellwether […]
24 hours ago
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, Senior Airmen Andrew Whitener and Tyler Glodgett 341s...
Associated Press

Nuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of launch officers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Air Force general in charge of the nation’s air- and ground-launched nuclear missiles has requested an official investigation into the number of officers who are reporting blood cancer diagnoses after serving at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The illnesses became publicly known this week after The Associated Press obtained […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Claims against Elder: Will they harm him in Calif. recall?