California Petitioners Succeed in Forcing Newsom Recall Election

California Petitioners Succeed in Forcing Newsom Recall
Election 1

(Headline USA) Buckle up, buckaroos.

The recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, triggering what is already shaping up to be a spectacularly bizarre and unconventional contest even by 2021 standards.

The California secretary of state’s office announced Monday that more than 1.6 million signatures had been verified, about 100,000 more than needed to force a vote on the first-term Democrat.

People who signed petitions now have 30 days to withdraw their signatures, though it’s unlikely enough will do so to stop the question from going to voters.

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An election is likely in the fall where voters would face two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? The votes on the second question will only be counted if more than half say yes to the first.

If Newsom survives the recall he will be up for re-election in 2022.

Among the most prominent Republicans running to replace Newsom are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner.

Jenner, the most famous declared candidate, will present a unique challenge for opponents given her status as a transgender icon.

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Another prominent Republican member of the LGBT community, former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, has declined to say for certain whether he will run but has floated the idea.

Businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in 2018, and former Congressman Doug Ose, also are running.

In 2003, voters recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s the only other recall of a California governor to qualify for the ballot.

Republicans have not won statewide office since 2006, when voters gave Schwarzenegger a second term.

Although just a quarter of the state’s registered voters are Republicans, about the same number as those who identify as “no party preference,” organizers see an opening by energizing voters who are frustrated by one-party rule in Sacramento.

Polls show support for removing Mr. Newsom around 40%, according to the Washington Times.

Newsom won election in 2018 with support from more than 60% of voters, but his popularity has rapidly declined as outraged citizens turn on him for his hypocrisy and economically devastating decisions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The recall effort began picking up steam after Newsom was caught last fall dining at a fancy restaurant for a lobbyist’s birthday while urging residents to stay home.

Organizers began working to remove him from office before the coronavirus took hold in California. Orrin Heatlie, a retired county sheriff’s sergeant, decided to pursue a recall after seeing Newsom explaining the rights of immigrants living in the country illegally. He and other Republicans were also frustrated by many of Newsom’s liberal policy decisions.

Dozens of other candidates, serious and not, are expected to enter the race.

So far no other Democrats have announced plans to run against Newsom. The governor launched an anti-recall campaign in March, crafting the effort as one driven by Republican extremists and adherents to former President Donald Trump, who lost California twice.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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