SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — The widely-expected recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom has been formally initiated after a final report on verified signatures, the California Secretary of State announced Wednesday.

Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber said she has notified the state Department of Finance that after a voluntary withdrawal of 43 signatures, the remaining 1,719,900 verified signatures still meet the threshold to initiate a recall election.

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In April, Weber’s office confirmed that supporters of the Newsom recall campaign had enough verified signatures to qualify for the ballot. California election law gives voters a 30-day period from April 26 to June 8th to request that officials remove their signatures from recall petitions.

Weber’s notification triggers the recall’s next steps, beginning with the finance department estimating the costs of the recall and whether it is held as a special election or as part of the next regularly scheduled election.

“These estimated costs must be submitted to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) by August 5,” read a statement from Weber. “Once the JLBC has had 30 days to review and comment, the Secretary of State will then certify the sufficiency of signatures pursuant to statute.”

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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.

Backers of the recall point to Newsom’s handling of the COVID pandemic and the state’s economy, claiming support for removing Newsom from office is not solely among members of the GOP.

In March, Newsom launched a political committee to raise money against the recall effort and has 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.

 

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