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California sets date for Newsom recall election

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California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will face a recall election on September 14, the state’s lieutenant governor announced Thursday. The announcement will start a two-and-a-half month campaign sprint by Newsom and those hoping to replace him. 

Recall organizers spent months gathering more than 1.7 million signatures to put the issue before voters. The election date was announced shortly after California Secretary of State Shirley Weber certified the recall petition. 

The recall will pose two questions to voters: first, asking if Newsom should be recalled and, second, if a majority of voters chose to recall him, who should succeed him. 

Several Republicans are hoping to replace Newsom if voters choose to recall him, including former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Representative Doug Ose and businessman John Cox. So far, no Democrats have signaled that they will challenge Newsom. 

Governor Gavin Newsom Holds Press Conference For Official Reopening Of The State Of California At Universal Studios Hollywood
California Governor Gavin Newsom attends a press conference for the official reopening of the state of California at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 15, 2021.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

A poll from the Public Policy Institute of California in May found 57% of Californians would vote against the recall, while 40% would vote to remove him. 

“This Republican recall is a naked attempt by Trump Republicans to grab control in California — powered by the same Republicans who refused to accept the results of the presidential election and are now pushing voter suppression laws across the country,” Stop the Republican Recall leader Juan Rodriguez said in a statement. “On September 14, Californians will have the chance to defend our state and reject this Republican power grab once and for all.

Supporters of the recall pointed to Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as a key reason he should be recalled. They’ve previously said that petition signatures spiked after a photograph was published last year of Newsom having dinner at The French Laundry, an upscale Napa Valley restaurant, despite urging Californians to stay home and avoid gatherings.

California’s COVID situation has dramatically improved since the recall petitions were filed earlier this year. Newsom lifted pandemic-related executive orders and restrictions earlier this month. 

Earlier this week, Newsom signed a law that changed the recall rules to allow for an earlier election date by essentially bypassing a legislative review of costs associated with the recall. The California Department of Finance said Thursday that the estimated cost of the recall will be $276 million. California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis said in a statement, “I believe we have chosen a fair and reasonable date for this election to take place.”

“Shout out to California Democrats for manipulating their own recall rules,” California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Milan Patterson said in a statement. “Now Californians only have to wait until September 14 to recall the worst governor in California history, Gavin Newsom.”

Newsom filed a lawsuit earlier this week to get his party identification printed on the recall ballots. He was supposed to indicate whether he wanted his party preference on the ballot when he responded to the recall earlier this year. 

If the recall is successful, it would be the second time California has recalled a governor. In 2003, Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. 


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