More than 2 million signatures were submitted to California state election officials Wednesday on the final day to reach the 1,495,709 needed to secure a recall for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on the calendar this year.
The state will now conduct a monthlong review to validate the signatures. If valid, a recall election expected to be scheduled for sometime between August and December.
“We’re gonna take this extremely seriously … we’re gonna get ready – and fight like hell,” Newsom senior strategist Sean Clegg told Politico Wednesday, labeling the referendum on Newsom’s leadership a partisan “Republican recall with a capital R.”
Anne Dunsmore, however, who runs the recall committee, RescueCalifornia.org, told The Federalist that more than a third of the signatures are independent and Democratic voters. Dunsmore emphazied the bipartisan nature of the movement triggered in large part by the governor’s aggressive and hypocritical lockdowns. Fifty-eight percent of those who signed the petition were women, Dunsmore said.
On Tuesday, Newsom complained the recall effort was motivated by racism, a routine accusation foisted by Democrats on any criticism from political opponents.
“Look at the petition, look at the actual reasons they themselves listed. It has to do with immigration. The ‘browning’ of California,” Newsom told reporters.
Dunsmore called Newsom’s comments “an insult to the two million people who signed the petition with a very strong showing from people that were no party preference and Democrats.”
Newsom said on the ABC’s “The View” Tuesday that he is worried about the effort to remove him from office.
“Of course I’m worried about it,” Newsom told the daytime panel. “The nature of these things, the up or down question, the zero-sum nature of the question is challenging … so we’re taking it seriously.”
The recall ballot gives voters a yes-or-not vote on whether Newsom stays in office, followed by a list of candidates competing for Newsom’s replacement if Californians vote in favor of removal.
While five recall attempts on Newsom failed in the past, the sixth effort picked up momentum in December, about a month after the governor was caught enjoying indoor dining at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Napa Valley’s wine country. Photos of the scene showed Newsom, who had just prohibited gatherings of more than three households before the Thanksgiving holiday, at a dinner party with a dozen others with no masks, and no social distancing.
EXCLUSIVE: We’ve obtained photos of Governor Gavin Newsom at the Napa dinner party he’s in hot water over. The photos call into question just how outdoors the dinner was. A witness who took photos tells us his group was so loud, the sliding doors had to be closed. 10pm on @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/gtOVEwa864
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 18, 2020
Newsom tightened statewide restrictions after he apologized for getting caught.
Californians have been subject to some of the harshest lockdowns in the country provoking an exodus to business-friendlier states such as Texas and Arizona. Families have also fled the state in search of better education for their children as many California schools remain closed despite overwhelming evidence that in-person instruction is safe.
A new poll out Monday shows more than 58 percent of California voters believe it’s “time for someone new” in the 2022 election. Only 42 percent said they would vote to keep Newsom in office in an upcoming recall.
While Newsom’s lockdowns, implemented with little transparency, have fueled the governor’s recall movement, California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa told The Federalist Newsom’s problems stem far beyond aggressive COVID-19 restrictions.
Rolling blackouts caused by insensitivity to the transition from fuel, Issa said, gripped the state last year with an energy crisis which has left Californians relying on imported power from other states at peak periods.
Issa, the wealthiest member in Congress who bankrolled the state’s last recall in 2003 when voters replaced incumbent Democrat Gray Davis with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, told The Federalist the stakes are higher in this year’s contest than they were nearly 20 years ago.
“We’ve got to turn around the direction of the state in a much more meaningful way,” Issa said, who cited the state’s fleeing population putting California on track to lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.
Issa said he is committed to supporting the effort however he can, though he won’t be running as a candidate himself.
While no prominent Democrats have come forward to challenge Newsom in the recall, several Republicans have already declared their candidacies including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Republican Congressman Doug Ose.
Former President Donald Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence, Ric Grenell, has also hinted at a run but has not yet announced any decision.