Meet Larry Elder, the conservative talk radio host and Trump loyalist, who is campaigning to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom

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Meet Larry Elder, the conservative talk radio host and Trump loyalist, who is campaigning to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom
In this July 13, 2021, file photo, conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Norwalk, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File
  • Larry Elder, a conservative radio host, is the leading GOP candidate for the California recall election.
  • Elder told Insider that he loves California and wants to see it thrive.
  • Here are his stances on policy and past controversies.

California's recall election for governor is set for September 14. This gives Larry Elder, who is the GOP's fundraising lead, according to Politico, or 45 other candidates the opportunity to unseat the state's current governor, Gavin Newsom.

Calls for a recall began prior to the pandemic when Newsom's adversaries grew discontent with California's "homelessness crisis, high taxes and cost of living, immigration, and rationing water and energy use," according to Insider's Lauren Frias. But the calls grew louder after COVID-19 took hold and Newsom implemented mitigation methods.

Ballots went out on August 16. The gubernatorial ballot asks, first, should Governor Newsom be replaced? and second, if Newsom is recalled, who should replace him?

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Gov. Newsom commenced his "Vote NO" Weekend of Action campaign on Friday, August 13, in San Francisco, saying the stakes of this recall election "could not be higher" in reference to Elder's plans.

Elder, a conservative radio host, announced his participation in the recall in July. Here is what voters need to know about Elder's background and candidacy.

What is Larry Elder's background?

Laurence Allen Elder was born in 1952; his father was a Republican and his mother was a Democrat. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles and attended Crenshaw High School. His household was abusive and growing up he was stopped by police between 75 and 100 times he said, according to a Los Angeles Times podcast "The Times."

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Elder left South Central and attended Brown University for his undergraduate degree, followed by the University of Michigan Law School.

After college, "The Sage from South Central," as he calls himself, wrote several books, worked at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey before starting his own firm (Laurence A. Elder and Associates), and currently hosts his own radio show "The Larry Elder Show." Elder also hosted "Moral Court," a one-season television show which wasn't a "court of law, but a court of ethics," according to IMDB.

"I'm a business owner, talk show host, author, and a son of California," Elder, who does not have any political experience, said of himself in a tweet. "I won't continue to watch Gavin Newsom destroy our state."

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What does Larry Elder believe, politically?

"The biggest challenge in California, in general, is the intrusiveness of government," he said to CalMatters. "I believe that a government that governs less governs best."

Here are a few of the candidate's political positions:

Elder told Insider that he loves California and wants to see it thrive. "Unfortunately, Gov. Gavin Newsom's failed policies are running this beautiful state into the ground," he added in a written statement to us.

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The candidate also holds controversial views on women and race

On women, especially in the workplace, he has dismissed the role of sexism and said that women should disclose their plans for pregnancy to their employers,

"Glass ceiling? Ha! What glass ceiling? Women, women exaggerate the problem of sexism," the pundit said in a 1996 ad for his radio show, CNN reported.

Elder also said "Women know less than men about political issues, economics, and current events" in a column he wrote in 2001, CNN reported.

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Critics, including leaders of Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles, have said that Elder as governor would be detrimental for Black and brown people of the state.

In a 1996 ad, Elder said, "Blacks exaggerate the significance of racism." He has also blamed some high-profile instances of police brutality on Black victims.

"Be polite. Comply. Jacob Blake could've been avoided had he complied; Eric Garner could've been avoided had he complied; Michael Brown could've been avoided had he complied," Elder says about Black victims who lost their lives to police brutality.

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The conservative candidate even suggested that slave owners were owed reparations following the civil war, Insider's Morgan Keith reported.

The candidate also regularly refers to undocumented immigrants as "illegal aliens" and has said that he does not believe they should receive Medicare.

Controversies

Elder's ex-fiancee, Alexandra Datig, claims that he flashed a gun at her in the midst of an argument while he was under the influence of marijuana, Politico reported. Elder denies this claim and referred to it as "salacious." In a string of tweets, he said "I grew up in South Central; I know exactly how destructive this type of behavior is."

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CNN reported that Elder was accused of sexual harassment twice - denying both allegations on his radio talk show in 2011.

The first incident, as CNN reports, occurred in the 1980s. A woman who worked at private practice attempted to break the contract and accused Elder of "hitting on her." Elder said in the episode, "That's how, that's how she put it. If you had seen her, you would know that the picture would be a complete defense. I'm just saying."

Elder, who used to host a television show in Cleveland, was also accused of asking a male guest to expose his butt tattoo in the presence of two camerawomen.

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"I think I was making a joke, making light - no, I don't [remember]," Elder told CNN. "The whole point behind your series of questions is, do I disrespect women, and I don't. I have a great deal of respect for women. My mom was a woman. I had her on my show every Friday."

"I've never been accused of sexual harassment. I've never been accused of sexual abuse. I've never been accused - I worked with hundreds of women throughout my career," he added.

What are Democrats worried about?

Democrats, including Newsom, have been comparing Elder to former President Donald Trump - and sometimes saying that he's the more extreme of the two.

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"You have someone who's not just opposed to women's right to choose, but actually wrote an op-ed saying women aren't as smart as men," Newsom said in reference to Elder.

One Los Angeles City Councilmember, Nithya Raman, tweeted that if a Republican was elected they could slash funding for many programs "that are holding the state together right now."

Elder called Former President Trump's 2016 election "divine intervention" in 2019.

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"It was a miracle. He is almost God-sent," he said. However, he told CNN that he was "indifferent" on the subject of a Trump endorsement that he says he has not asked for (nor has he received).

Elder has hinted that he will not accept the election results, in line with Trump's move following the 2020 presidential election.

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