SACRAMENTO (CBS SF/KPIX) – Supporters of a recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom have enough verified signatures to qualify for the ballot, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.
While there is still work to do to verify signatures, all signs are pointing to a recall election in November
“This is a historic day in California history,” said Randy Economy, the organizer of Recall Gavin 2020. ““I think when you put one man in charge of the 5th largest economy in the world and there’s no checks and balances, you get to the point of where we are today.”
Data released Monday (.pdf) showed recall supporters have gathered 1,626,042 valid signatures, more than the 1,495,709 needed. Supporters submitted more than 2.1 million signatures, which were gathered ahead of a March deadline.
“The People of California have done what the politicians thought would be impossible,” said Orrin Heatlie, a former Sacramento-area police officer who is leading the recall effort.
In the Bay Area, recall supporters gathered more than 180,000 valid signatures, the bulk of which came from Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties.
Valid Recall Signatures By Bay Area County:
Contra Costa: 42,076
San Francisco: 9,406
San Mateo: 8,896
Santa Clara: 47,534
The campaign points to several factors for the recall effort, such as the Governor’s COVID response and the declining economy.
“We have to fight for this state and we deserve better than Gavin Newsom,” said Harmeet Dhillon, RNC Committee woman from California.
While the recall effort has gathered enough signatures, San Jose State political science lecturer Donna Crane says for it to succeed is rare.
“The public’s dissatisfaction with an elected official does not always translate into its willingness to fire that person from their job,” said Crane.
Newsom has not waited to campaign against the recall, launching a political committee to raise money against the effort last month. “I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it,” the governor said on March 15.
On Monday afternoon, Newsom tweeted, “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.”
“There’s too much at stake,” he went on to say.
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.
There's too much at stake. pic.twitter.com/5ZEszlrcYl
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 26, 2021
The tweet also featured a campaign ad that characterized the recall effort as one driven by extremists, including conspiracy theorists who believe in QAnon, white supremacists and supporters of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Backers of the recall have claimed support for removing Newsom from office is not solely among members of the GOP.
“The Governor is out there with his ads trying to claim this is a Republican conspiracy of some sort. I can tell you in the dozens of lawsuits I filed against the Governor last year, regarding his COVID lockdown, many of the plaintiffs were Democrats,” said Dhillon.
“If he wants to profile the entire citizen movement that’s been going on over the last year to recall him as a racist effort and a partisan power grab, which is what he called it, I think he will fail with that,” recall organizer Anne Dunsmore told KPIX 5 last month.
Candidates that have announced that they would run in the recall election include Republicans John Cox, who lost to Newsom in a landslide in 2018, reality TV personality and transgender rights activist Caitlyn Jenner, and San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Faulconer released a statement following word of the recall ballot qualification, saying: “Californians from all walks of life are seizing this historic opportunity to demand change. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are coming together to support this recall and get our state back on track. As the only candidate who’s won tough elections and enacted real reform, I am ready to lead this movement. Together, we will turn the page on Gavin Newsom’s failures and begin a California Comeback to reopen our schools, cut taxes for working families, and create jobs for the people of our state.”
Still, the Governor is standing by his record in an interview with CBS News.
“California is one of the first states to do a stay at home order. We have among the lowest death rates in the major states in the country. We think we are better positioned than most to come roaring back and we’re providing record amount of relief,” said Gov. Newsom.
California voters have qualified a gubernatorial recall for the ballot one other time. In 2003, voters ousted Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, replacing him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A specific date for a recall election has not been set, but it is likely to take place sometime in the fall.
Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.