SACRAMENTO (CBS News/CBS SF) — The effort to recall California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is growing, and his allies and Democrats are taking notice. Now, the former mayor of San Diego has become the first major elected official to challenge the Democratic leader, according to sources.

Republican Kevin Faulconer told POLITICO he would run in the recall election should the movement gather the required 1.5 million signatures by the mid-March deadline. He said he will make a formal announcement on Tuesday.

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This will be the sixth recall attempt against Newsom, now two years into his first term. But organizers and Republicans in the state say it’s the most serious effort yet due to outrage over his COVID restrictions, slowdowns in vaccine distribution, mounting homelessness and unemployment fraud.

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“During moments of crisis, people need strong, solid leadership, and this governor does not offer that. And the people have lost confidence in his ability to lead,” said the recall’s founder Orrin Heatlie, a retired sheriff’s sergeant.

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