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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder held his first major news conference Friday in his run to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The recall candidate front runner and the governor did not mince words for each other on their respective campaign trails.

“I believe I’m going to win this election after Gavin Newsom is recalled,” Elder said. 

This week kicked off campaign blitzes for Newsom, Elder and other candidates running in the recall election. 

This is the final weekend before ballots hit mailboxes next week.

“There’s a reason for the outrageous price of homes, and the reasons are left-wing policies. There’s a reason for the rise in crime, and it’s left-wing policies. There’s a reason for the rise in homelessness, and it’s left-wing policies,” Elder said during his virtual press conference. “A lot of people haven’t connected the dots.”

Recent polls, including one from Inside California Politics and Emerson College, show while most Californians are undecided on who they would pick to replace Newsom, Elder has the lead among a Republican-heavy field of candidates. 

Elder condemned Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and said he’d throw out any mask or statewide vaccine mandate.

“Assuming there are mandates for masks and statewide mandates for vaccines, they will be suspended right away,” he told reporters. 

“Larry Elder is running away with this on the other side,” Newsom said.

Meanwhile, at Newsom’s campaign event Friday in San Francisco, Elder was the only replacement candidate the governor mentioned by name.

Newsom denounced Elder’s conservative views, including his climate change denial and anti-abortion stance. 

“I could go down a list,” the governor said. “He’s to the right of Donald Trump, to the right of Donald Trump. That’s what’s at stake in this election and don’t think for a second he can’t do damage in that role.”

Elder would not take questions Friday from mainstream media or reporters who regularly hold elected officials accountable. 

There are two debates scheduled for next week, including the Governor Recall Debate hosted by Inside California Politics on Aug. 19. Elder will not participate in either of them.