LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — California on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 14 recall election that threatens to drive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, the result of a political uprising driven by widespread angst over coronavirus orders that shuttered schools and businesses.

The election in the nation’s most populous state will be a marquee contest with national implications, watched closely as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play.

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Harmeet Dhillon, national committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, said on Thursday “Buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride the next few weeks.”

Dhillon says this is going to be a summer filled with political ads.

“We are going to be bombarded with advertising in California like we’ve never seen in modern history. It’s already really bad from Newsom. I feel like he’s my BFF. He emails me every few minutes,” she said.

Dhillon believes the Sept. 14 date is a political move to capitalize on the governor’s recent cash giveaway. And, according to Donna Crane, a political science expert from San Jose State University, there’s another reason to hold to the recall at the earliest possible date.

“The longer these go on, the more expensive they become and it’s already going to cost an arm and a leg.”

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The recall election is expected to cost more than $270 million. There’s a big difference this time compared to 2003, when Gov. Gray Davis was recalled: there isn’t a prominent Democrat challenging Newsom.

“My money is still on Newsom to prevail here and it will be career suicide for another Democrat to join this effort,” Crane said.

The date was set by the state’s lieutenant governor after election officials certified that enough valid petition signatures had been turned in to qualify the election for the ballot.

Many voters have yet to pay attention to the emerging election, while polls have shown Newsom would beat back the effort to remove him. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in heavily Democratic California since 2006.

Republican candidates have depicted Newsom as an incompetent fop, while Democrats have sought to frame the recall as driven by far-right extremists and supporters of former President Donald Trump.

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© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. KPIX 5’s Andrea Nakano and the Associated Press contributed to this report