THE effort to remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office has gained enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election this year, the California Secretary of State’s office announced on Monday, April 26.
The announcement is huge for supporters of the effort to unseat Newsom but this doesn’t mean that a recall election will immediately take place.
What follows the secretary of state’s announcement is a 30-business-day period in which those who signed the petition may withdraw their names.
After, county election officials will have another 10 days to report how many signatures have been removed, and if the minimum amount of signatures has been met, a recall election would then be held following a lengthy budgetary review and scheduling process.
All in all, it could take months for a recall election to be imposed. If it is held, voters would have to answer two questions on the ballot: 1) Whether or not to remove Newsom from office and 2) who should replace him.
Critics of the governor began sounding off on his recall around June 2020 when the grassroots group of mostly Republicans — Recall Gavin 2020 — began its campaign to remove Newsom from office.
The group’s website wrote a long list of grievances against the governor, including, “Unaffordable housing. Record homelessness. Rising crime. Failing schools. Independent contractors thrown out of work. Exploding pension debt. And now, a locked down population while the prisons are emptied. Hold Gavin Newsom accountable.”
Newsom has brushed off the threat, calling the signature drive and effort “a Republican recall” and described the campaign as a distraction.
“This Republican recall threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress that we’ve made — from fighting COVID, to helping struggling families, protecting our environment and passing common sense gun violence solutions,” Newsom tweeted on Monday.
Overall, Newsom’s approval ratings still average above 50%, according to polls from Emerson College and the Public Policy Institute of California. The latter’s survey found that only 4 in 10 likely voters said they would vote to remove him from office while 56% said they would vote no.
Recently, his accelerated COVID-19 vaccination and economic re-opening efforts have put in place a target date of June 15, when he hopes to lift all pandemic restrictions.
The last (and only) time that such a petition succeeded in California was in 2003 when then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, was removed from office and replaced with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A number of candidates have already announced their campaigns to replace Newsom, including Olympic gold medalist and transgender rights activist Caitlyn Jenner, businessman John Cox (whom Newsom defeated in the 2018 gubernatorial race), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and U.S. Rep. Doug Ose — all of whom are Republicans. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)