Organizers said they’ve gathered 1.95 million signatures, with about 10 days until the March 17 deadline.
“That is more than enough to be able to have this initiative qualified for a special election later this year, to let the people finally decide who and what is going to happen with the fate in the future of California Gov. Gavin Newsom,” one recall official told reporters in Sacramento.
“The momentum is building. Californians are consistently becoming more disgruntled with how their state is run,” added Mike Netter, a co-proponent of Recall Gavin 2020.
Organizers, who told The Epoch Times they’re aiming for 2 million signatures, must present 1,495,709 verified signatures to state officials. If they do, voters will be asked later this year whether Newsom should be removed from office. They’ll also be asked who should replace the governor if a majority of respondents say he should be removed.
Several people have launched or said they’re exploring gubernatorial bids, including former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, a Democrat, and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer campaigns in front of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, Calif., on Feb. 17, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Faulconer said in a statement on Sunday in reaction to the campaign’s briefing that the recall movement “is becoming a reality because millions of Californians are ready for change and making their voices heard.”
“It’s time to turn the page on the failures of Gavin Newsom’s incompetent administration. When I am governor we will begin the California comeback to reopen schools, tackle homelessness, and empower businesses to create good-paying jobs across our state,” he added.
Residents want to remove Newsom because of the harsh restrictions he’s imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising numbers of homeless people in the state, and the way the state is distributing COVID-19 vaccines, among other reasons.
“The governmental monopoly and the one-party rule over California is over, and politics as usual and business as you once knew in California is over and done with,” Orrin Heatlie, another co-proponent of Recall Gavin 2020, told the briefing on Sunday.
About 31 percent of an internal sample of signatures examined came from people who are not Republicans, organizers said, stressing the effort goes beyond the GOP.
Californians recalled Democrat Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, choosing Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him.
Newsom told The Epoch Times during a recent briefing when asked about the recall movement that he is “focused on vaccines, focusing on bringing down case rates, focused on safely reopening our economy.”
The pace of signature gathering quickened when photographs emerged showing Newsom eating dinner in close quarters with about a dozen other people late last year, Cole Patterson, who worked as the Republican National Committee’s state data director in the 2020 election and has been tracking the campaign, told The Epoch Times.
The pace jumped again when Newsom extended stay-at-home orders indefinitely on Dec. 29, 2020.
Brad Jones and Drew Van Voorhis contributed to this report.