California gubernatorial recall effort gains traction


Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Gavin Newsom, California governor since 2019, is facing the sixth recall effort against him.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is at risk of losing his job as 1.2 million California voters have petitioned for his recall.

Out of 1.5 million petition signatures needed for an official recall, 1.2 million have been verified. However, backers of the recall claim to have 2.1 million votes, but some are still waiting to be verified by state officials. The deadline to sign the petitions was March 17.

According to NBC Los Angeles, the petition stated the following grievances:

“The grounds for this recall are as follows: Governor Newsom has implemented laws which are detrimental to the citizens of this state and our way of life. Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens. People in this state suffer the highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates, and the lowest quality of life as a result. He has imposed sanctuary state status and fails to enforce immigration laws. He unilaterally over-ruled the will of the people regarding the death penalty. He seeks to impose additional burdens on our state by the following; removing the protections of Proposition 13, rationing our water use, increasing taxes and restricting parental rights. Having no other recourse, we the people have come together to take this action, remedy these misdeeds and prevent further injustices.”

Along with the grievances listed in the petition, many people are mad with Newsom’s leadership considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Backers of the recall base some of their anger on Newsom’s lack of reopening schools, restaurants, and sports while other states have done so. This comes as an EdSource analysis proved that 79% of California students were enrolled in schools that only offered distance learning in mid-February. Newsom was also criticized in November for eating inside the French Laundry restaurant in Napa County, CA. 

“They must be held accountable to the people they serve, and this rogue Governor has lost sight of that and must be recalled!” said Orrin Heatlie, leader of the Recall Gavin Newsom campaign.

For Newsom, this is the sixth recall attempt against him since he took office in 2019. He has branded this the “Republican Recall” and has gone on a media tour to promote his past actions as governor. 

“In just 25 months in office, there’s been six efforts to get a recall on the ballot. This one appears to have the requisite signatures. This started before the pandemic,” said Newsom of the latest recall effort during an interview on ABC’s “The View.” “If you look at the list of grievances from the proponents of this campaign, it goes to our values. It’s less about me; it’s more about California and our values and the Democratic Party values,” Newsom continued.

The last time there was a successful gubernatorial recall in the nation was in 2003 when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was replaced with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. 

In California, a recall election will only take action after a series of steps can be passed. First, the verification of petition signatures must be finished by Dr. Shirley Weber, Newsom-appointed Secretary of State. If this total passes 1.5 million votes, Californians will receive a ballot asking them if they would like to move forward with the decision to remove Newsom from office. If the electorate decides to remove the governor, an election will occur to determine his successor. Californians can expect this possibly final step no sooner than the fall.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 2018 gubernatorial candidate, and businessman John Cox, and former state Sen. John Moorlach have all announced that they will run for governor if the recall effort is successful.

Newsom’s supporters are not holding back their outrage over this recall effort, claiming that Republicans are at the root of the problem.

“This is a ragtag crew of pro-Trump, anti-vaccine extremists, along with some ambitious Republican politicians who would like to be governor. I don’t think it’s something anyone wants. I’d be surprised if Californians wanted to spend the extra money and have another election the following year,” said Dan Newman, a spokesperson for Newsom.

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