Last updated on March 17, 2021
The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has gathered over 2 million signatures — a number of signatures, if validated, that could force a measure on a ballot.
The leaders of RecallGavin2020 announced this week that their effort reached over 2,060,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
“The People of California are speaking loud and clear. We have cleared another milestone. Politics as usual in California are over as we know it to be,” Orrin Heatlie, Chairman of The California Patriot Coalition, RecallGavin2020 Committee, said in a statement.
California elections officials have to confirm 1.5 million signatures from registered state voters to trigger a special election. In early February, the California secretary of state had verified over 80 percent of the signatures collected. Many of the signatures have been gathered by volunteers.
Organizers said they submitted 1.8 million signatures to 58 county registrar offices for review. According to The Los Angeles Times, registrars have until April 29 to finish reviewing petitions.
A new poll of California voters found not enough support for the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom to successfully remove him from office, but a majority of respondents said they would support another candidate when Newsom’s first term is up in 2022.
Asked if they would vote to recall Newsom, 38% of voters said they would, 42% said they’d vote to keep him in office, and 18.9% were undecided. Another 6.1% said they would not vote in a recall election.
The poll was released Monday by Emerson College Polling and Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.’s six California television stations, including KTLA. It surveyed more than 1,000 registered voters across the state, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The Republican-led recall effort has gained steam amid efforts by Newsom’s administration to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus. Critics of Newsom say public health restrictions went too far, forcing businesses to close and limiting people’s freedoms for too long. The initially slow vaccine rollout in California has also prompted criticism.
And Newsom came in for calls of hypocrisy when — while he was beseeching Californias to stay safely at home — he in November attended a lobbyist’s birthday party at one of the most posh restaurants in the Golden State, The French Laundry in Napa Valley.
Recall organizers have until Wednesday to gather 1.5 million verified signatures in order to qualify for the ballot, and then counties have until April 29 to verify the signatures. Recall organizers say they already have more than 2 million signatures.
The organizers say they are attracting Democrats and independents, the Associated Press reported, and the poll found some support for that — though just a small portion of Democrats support the recall. In California, Democrats account for 46.1% of registered voters, compared to Republicans’ 24.2%.
Perhaps not surprisingly after an incredibly divisive national election, Republicans overwhelmingly support the recall, the poll results show, while Democrats are overwhelmingly opposed: 86.2% of Republicans support it, alongside just 11.8% of Democrats and 39.4% of independents.
Republican businessman John Cox is losing three members of his gubernatorial campaign staff just as the recall drive is kicking into high gear.
Tim Rosales, a longtime GOP strategist who has served as campaign spokesperson, confirmed he left the campaign as of this week. Also leaving are Chris Faulkner of Majority Strategies and strategist James Farwell, a former Newt Gingrich insider, sources said. A website listing political job openings shows that Cox is looking for a campaign press secretary.
Cox has dropped $2 million so far on his campaign and positioned himself as a Republican outsider compared to former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a more moderate Republican.
In an interview with POLITICO Monday, Cox brushed aside the staff changes — and said that his campaign is adding legendary GOP admaker Fred Davis.
Davis produced ads for President George W. Bush's presidential campaign, as well as the late Sen. John McCain. But some of his most unforgettable work has been in California campaigns — including an ad for GOP then-U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, which portrayed Democrat Barbara Boxer as a giant blimp. Another spot that year slammed moderate Republican Tom Campbell, a Senate challenger, as a “demon sheep.”
Nevertheless, Newsom is taking this seriously:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday broke his relative silence on what he called a partisan, Republican recall, directing supporters to a newly launched anti-recall campaign website that asserts his opponents are “anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-immigrant activists and Trump supporters.”
“I won't be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it,” Newsom proclaimed in a tweet on Monday morning, adding, “There is too much at stake.”
“Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk,” Newsom said.
The governor's remarks come just two days before a deadline to submit the nearly 1.5 million signatures required to trigger a recall election. (The only requirement to get the question on the ballot is to obtain the signatures of 12% of voters in the last election for the office.)
And according to The New York Times, Newsom has some big progressive names that have his back:
On Monday, allies of Mr. Newsom announced the creation of a new fund-raising arm and website, stoptherepublicanrecall.com, that is allowed to raise virtually unlimited donations under state law. The creation of the group, Democrats said, was a tacit admission that the measure will garner enough signatures to be on the ballot later this year.
“I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it,” wrote Mr. Newsom in a Twitter post on Monday.
Ms. Abrams, Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and the state’s new senator, Alex Padilla, joined other national Democrats to throw their support behind Mr. Newsom in a campaign already seen as a cash-attracting dry run for the 2022 midterms.
The pro-Newsom messaging has the feel of a test attack. A video that accompanied the launch tied the recall effort to former President Donald J. Trump, QAnon and the mob that attacked the Capitol.
“Defeating this cynical, Republican recall effort will be one of the most important priorities for Democrats this year,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, in a testimonial on the new organization’s website.
FYI, President Joe Biden spoke out against the recall on February 9th:
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses have it. The governors of Texas, Iowa and West Virginia have gotten theirs.
But in California, elected officials from Gov. Gavin Newsom on down have largely chosen not to get vaccines yet.
“All of us want to get the vaccine when it's our turn, and everybody wants it to be our turn today; I do as well,” Newsom, 53, said last week at a Los Angeles vaccination clinic. “I'm looking forward to that opportunity as well.”
Even as more vaccines are available, California politicians are afraid of being seen as line-cutters — and none more than recall-threatened Newsom. The Democratic governor's reputation was damaged in November after he dined at an exclusive Napa restaurant with lobbyists and friends while telling the public to avoid gatherings last fall. Getting the vaccine ahead of others his age and people with high-risk disabilities, all while low-income communities have the lowest rates of vaccination in California, could result in more negative headlines.
In an interview with MSNBC's Joy Reid, the governor said that he had several candidates in mind for a potential replacement for Feinstein, 87, who has faced pressure from some progressive Democrats to step down and is no longer the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her current term is up in January 2025.
“We have multiple names in mind, the answer is yes,” Newsom said, responding to Reid's question as to whether his candidate would be a Black woman.
Let’s make sure Newsom is ready for both the potential recall election and the general election. Click here to donate and get involved with his campaign.
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