California Meets Threshold to Set Recall of Governor Newsom (Getty)
Romy Varghese Monday, 26 April 2021 07:14 PM
California has verified more than enough signatures needed for a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, pushing the state closer to an election later this year.
The state has verified more than 1.6 million names as of Monday, passing the almost 1.5 million threshold to qualify for a ballot, Secretary of State Shirley Weber said in a statement. There is now a 30-day period for voters who signed the petition to withdraw their names, which an anti-recall campaign is pushing.
County officials have until Thursday to certify the validity of remaining signatures.
“A recall election will be held unless a sufficient number of signatures are withdrawn,” Weber said.
The likely election promises to be an expensive spectacle in the most-populous U.S. state, where Newsom opponents have seized on resentment over California’s coronavirus shutdowns and response to the pandemic.
The Democratic governor has tried to paint the recall effort as a radical movement by Republicans trying to rally their base after President Donald Trump’s defeat.
It would be only the second time in California’s history that a campaign to recall a governor has made the ballot out of 55 attempts. In 2003, Gray Davis was removed and replaced by Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, in a circus-like campaign that featured more than 130 candidates, including a porn star and a bounty hunter.
Newsom may have time on his side as widespread vaccinations help ease virus restrictions in California. The lieutenant governor, currently a Democrat, would schedule the election after a process determining its cost. The means a vote may not come until November, according to California Target Book, which tracks state politics.
After largely ignoring the movement, Newsom last month launched a campaign against it featuring support from prominent Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren and Stacey Abrams, as well as Independent Bernie Sanders.
While Newsom’s approval ratings have faltered since last year, he’s still running ahead: 56% of likely voters in the heavily Democratic state said they oppose the recall, according to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California poll released in early April. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by nearly two to one.