Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder has suddenly risen to front-runner status in the race to replace Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall. But just six months ago, Elder explicitly said on-air that he wouldn’t run because he doesn’t have the “temperament” or “stomach” to be governor.
During the Feb. 4 broadcast of The Larry Elder Show, first spotlighted by liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, the right-wing commentator addressed his listeners’ desire for him to throw his hat in the recall race. At the time, Elder said he preferred to remain a radio host.
“Most recently, somebody that you know quite well has approached me and I said I subscribe to the Walter Cronkite philosophy, I’d love to serve. I hate to have to run,” he stated.
“I just don’t believe I have the stomach, the temperament, the personality, the drive, the willingness to deal with these [doofuses] in Sacramento for the next several years of my life,” Elder continued. “Have I exhausted all of my excuses yet? Anyway, thank you very much for that. That’s very flattering. But no, I’m not going to I'm not going to run. I would miss being on the radio as well.”
Despite his definitive declaration to the contrary in February, Elder would announce last month that he was running as a Republican to replace Newsom, insisting he was encouraged to do so by fellow conservative pundit Dennis Prager.
After his announcement, he quickly jumped to the head of the crowded pack of contenders and is the favorite to be governor if Newsom is recalled, despite polling right around 20 percent. (California’s convoluted recall election rules could allow a candidate with just a fraction of the vote to become governor.)
Following his quick ascent as front-runner, Media Matters and others have exposed inflammatory, sexist, and offensive comments he’s made in the past, notably about his support for pregnancy discrimination, his embrace of election fraud conspiracies, and his hostility towards the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Furthermore, Elder is currently under police investigation over domestic violence accusations made by his ex-fiancée Alexandra Datig, who alleged that Elder brandished a gun at her during a heated argument while he was high on marijuana. Elder has denied the allegations. The state of California is also investigating whether Elder failed to disclose all his sources of income.