Among the Republicans hoping to unseat him is conservative radio host Larry Elder, who currently leads the crowded field of candidates lining up to slam Newsom's pandemic policies and the state of the state.
Though the race looked narrower last month, the margin has significantly widened in Newsom's favor as Elder continues to campaign.
A key talking point of Republicans nationwide is the prevalence of homelessness within the state, though this is often used as a means to discredit its Democratic leadership and portray homeless people as a nuisance, rather than a sincere call to action for housing Californians.
This week, Elder visited a homeless encampment in Venice, where the encampment's residents berated him for the photo-op.
#HappeningNow - the homeless who live on Hampton and 3rd Ave in #venice don’t seem happy to see @larryelder - some… https://t.co/61GglbI1Aj— Josh Haskell (@Josh Haskell) 1631127122.0
One homeless woman, Sarah Duke, told the Los Angeles Times:
"He has no business down here. If you ain't going to help us, move ... on."
Elder's reception on social media was chilly as well, with users accusing him of exploiting the homeless for a photo opportunity.
That’s what happens when you treat people as props and not humans. If you’re homeless in many states— you can sti… https://t.co/spCU9pzc9V— Tifféloyx is Excessively Black (@Tifféloyx is Excessively Black) 1631184379.0
Homeless people don't like being used as political pawns for photo ops. https://t.co/I5HwlqkecD— Alexandra Datig | Front Page Index (@Alexandra Datig | Front Page Index) 1631128665.0
The unhoused are people - not political props. https://t.co/ICndZNfk3b— Sammy Lawrence (@Sammy Lawrence) 1631138864.0
Larry Elder was trying to use the house insecure communities as a photo op and they said NOPE. https://t.co/StjpKz6lvL— Jason (Moderna Gay. One Piece stan) (@Jason (Moderna Gay. One Piece stan)) 1631155552.0
Really? Poverty tourism? People experiencing homelessness because of a broken system certainly have strong opinions… https://t.co/s2i2hT1mIg— Isaac 🐞 (@Isaac 🐞) 1631180215.0
Others praised the hecklers for their determination.
Our houseless comrades know a sellout coward when they see one https://t.co/4t7KUgpMdN— Sports Liker (@Sports Liker) 1631152672.0
Watching Larry Elder get run out of Venice is *chef’s kiss* https://t.co/wgi5nfKEyk— Dylan Park (@Dylan Park) 1631162406.0
God I love this song. The heckles are 🔥🔥 https://t.co/JEfWIzyean— Travon Free (@Travon Free) 1631162012.0
Now that's how you get it done!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/3EfnUQSZLL— missrelle86 (@missrelle86) 1631142504.0
Elder's team later left the encampment after an unknown woman in a gorilla mask thew an egg at him.