Recall of California Gov. Newsom Reaches Major Milestone


Only 1.5 million petition signatures were needed to put the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom on the November 2021 ballot. Supporters of the recall submitted 2.1 million signatures.

This is, in fact, the fifth recall effort to remove Gov. Newsom from office.

Gavin Newsom was elected in 2018 with a 62 percent voter share. Newsom surpassed the record of 60 percent set by Jerry Brown in 2014. Newsom took office in 2019, a full year before the COVID pandemic struck the U.S.

Although Newsom’s allies point to plummeting COVID infection and death rates, the damage to Newsom’s reputation will be difficult to overcome. Lockdowns and schools closings continue to plague the governor.

But images of Gov. Newsom dining unmasked at an expensive restaurant while a stay-at-home order was in place may have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Even the governor himself acknowledged, “The reality is, looks like it’s going to be on the ballot.”

Right-wing extremists and pro-Trump supporters are accused of being behind the recall effort. But knowing that California is a solidly blue state makes that claim less and less believable. A myriad of issues have made Newsom unpopular. cites numerous reasons for launching the recall. Among them are unaffordable housing, record homelessness, rising crime, failing schools, exploding pension debt, and, of course, the COVID lockdown. “He is in way over his head. He has failed miserable,” said senior recall advisor Randy Economy.

Others, like political science professor Garrick Percival of San Jose State University, have a different view of the recall. Dr. Percival predicts that as people return to a “more normal life” after the opening of businesses and schools by the fall, the “memory of a lot of these struggles will have faded.”

Nevertheless, post-deadline tallies from the California Secretary of State on Friday indicated an 82 percent signature validity rate. That’s more than enough to put the governor’s recall on the November ballot. Newsom’s recall is one of two decisions California voters will have to make. They will also have to choose his successor.

California’s independence movement “Yes California” recently held a live-streaming debate with three current candidates for governor. Marcus Ruiz Evans, the Yes California founder, hosted the debate with candidates Dakota Vaughn (R), Michael Grover Coltharp (R), and Nicolas Wildstar (I). They are three of potentially hundreds of candidates vying to replace Newsom as governor.

Republican John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, has already announced he will run for governor again. So has Kevin Faulconer, former Republican mayor of San Diego.

But Gov. Newsom is not going down without a fight. Prominent people like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams have come to his defense.

Since 1913, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. Of the 179 attempts to recall various state officials, only ten collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Six of those recalls were successful. Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, was one of them. He was successfully recalled by California voters in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Now the attempt to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom has reached an important milestone. Enough signatures have been submitted. The recall seems certain. It looks like a done deal. The biggest question, however, is what will the world’s fifth largest economy do while it’s waiting for a new leader to be elected.

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