Gov. Newsom is officially facing a recall election

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON/AP) – Organizers of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

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.

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.

Who else is running for governor?

Last week, Caitlyn Jenner joined the list of candidates running to replace Newsom. In 2003, voters recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In addition to Jenner, porn star Mary Carey has also announced she plans to run for governor, as well as Republican businessman John Cox, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, and former GOP Rep. Doug Ose.

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“This now triggers the next phase of the recall process, a 30-business-day period in which voters may submit written requests to county Registrars of Voters to remove their names from the recall petition,” California’s secretary of state said in a statement.

Californians divided on Newsom

A poll released by Nexstar Media Group’s six California Television Stations along with Emerson College found Californians are split when it comes to Newsom’s performance and he has his work cut out for him if he is to hold onto his office for another term.

A majority of Californians believe a change in the governor is needed in 2022 when Newsom is up for re-election.

The poll found respondents were nearly evenly split if they approved of Newsom’s job as Governor: 41.8% said they approved, 40.3% said they disapprove and 17.9% were unsure or had no opinion.

When broken down by party affiliation:

Vote to Recall

  • 11.8% of Democrats
  • 86.2% of Republicans
  • 39.4% of Independents

Vote to Keep

  • 65.6% of Democrats
  • 6.3% of Republicans
  • 34.5% of Independents

Undecided

  • 16.4% of Democrats
  • 6.7% of Republicans
  • 15.8% of Independents

Would not Vote

  • 6.2% of Democrats
  • 0.8% of Republicans
  • 10.3% of Independents

A majority of Californians are at least moderately interested in the recall election.

The recall effort

The recall effort against Governor Newsom gained steam over the winter as coronavirus cases spike in California, keeping schools and businesses closed to the frustration of many Californians.

Outrage grew after Newsom was caught having dinner at the high-end Napa Valley restaurant French Laundry, which was contrary to his own public health advice.

Newsom, who also has faced criticism over the state’s slow vaccine rollout earlier said last week there are several lessons he learned while the state’s fight against the pandemic.

Newsom conceded the state could have done a better job educating and communicating to the put public as state restrictions changed throughout the past year.

The group needed 1.5 million signatures validated by state elections officials.

The update comes after several state and national Democratic leaders have publicly rebuked the recall, claiming it’s a partisan power grab by Republicans but supporters say the signatures tell a different story.

“They’re pawns in Gavin Newsom’s chess game. They’re in denial, 38% of the people who have signed our petition are democrats and decline to state [no party preference] so they’re out of touch with their own base,” Economy said.

“It’s coming from some major Democrats, and some people who have never been involved in the political process before,” Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager of Rescue California, said.

Newsom’s campaign manager Dan Newman said the Republican recall is a partisan attempt to install a Trump supporter as governor.

“We’re not going to change course because of a few naysayers and doomsdayers,” Newsom said in his State of the State address on March 9.

But recall organizers say the governor’s vaccine tour, State of the State address, and recent policy changes have not slowed down the signature-gathering effort.

Newsom’s response

After the news broke Monday that the recall election would officially be happening, Newsom tweeted in part “there’s too much at stake.”

“This Republican recall threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress we’ve made — from fighting COVID, to helping struggling families, protecting our environment, and passing commonsense gun violence solutions,” he tweeted along with a 30-second video.

In March, Newsom and other Democratic allies launched a campaign committee to stop the proposed recall election, kicking off their effort with an advertisement attacking the attempted recall as a “power grab” by Republicans.

Under state rules, Newsom alone is allowed to raise money in unlimited amounts, while other candidates must adhere to contribution limits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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