Recall Election

In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Law enforcement officials are investigating escalating threats of death and violence against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, his family and the the wineries, shops and other businesses he founded. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

In recent polls across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has dropped in approval rating. Since winning 62% of the vote in 2018 by 24 points, Newsom has had a consistent approval rating, but according to UC Berkeley’s latest poll released Feb 2, 2021, his approval has dropped below 50%. 

This notice comes as signatures mount up at the end of the sixth petition to recall Newsom, where supporters have until Mar 17, 2021, to collect the 1,495,709 signatures needed to trigger a recall election. 

Newsom has suffered a string of bad press in the last year. Like most states, any problems before were accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. No exception for the Governor of California as the homelessness rate increased, wildfires ravaged the state, sanctuary city policy was disputed, water rationing was fought by farmers, affordable housing fell behind and inflation of real estate continues on the up. 

The mishandling of the pandemic lockdowns has led to the massive increase of disapprovals and signatures for the petition. As lockdowns would set in, Newsom could not stop the morbidity rate from rising. “It’s like all that education has caused him to look past the simple solutions, while they take their time all us small folk are suffering,” Bay Area community leader Phillip Martinez.

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom bumps elbows with a teacher as he tours the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021 in Alameda, California. Gov. Newsom is traveling throughout California to highlight the state’s efforts to reopen schools and businesses as he faces the threat of recall. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Considering, families are hurting financially and emotionally from the rippling effects of the virus. Already branded as elitist and privileged, it did not help Newsom’s image when seen at the French Laundry restaurant for a birthday party.

Newsom’s children are still able to be privately home schooled, all while many are awaiting public schools’ reopening. The Governor displays corruption and the separation of privilege in the state. 

Randy Economy, a longtime California political strategist who is advising the recall effort, spoke to CNN.”That changed everything in such a powerful manner,” Economy said. People looked at the pictures and asked, ” ‘Why can’t I do that?’ ” he said.

“It will go down in his political obituary,” Economy argued, “because that’s the day he lost all sense of reality — that’s the day every person in California saw through their own eyes exactly who this man was.”

Newsom said in his apology that he’d made a “bad mistake.” Upon realizing the group was larger than anticipated, he said he should have “stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove out to my [his] house.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at the Bloom Energy Sunnyvale campus on March 28, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

In the wake of the polls reaching headlines, several Republicans, entrepreneurs, and business owners have taken the chance to be on the offensive in California blue politics announcing their candidacy. Calling out a recall or not, they plan on running against the Democratic governor. 

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a moderate Republican, officially launched his campaign in front of an elementary school that he says “Should be filled with students,” drawing attention to Newsom’s pandemic response. Faulconer plans on running from his response to San Diego’s homeless community and the 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak that killed 20 and spread to hundreds. However, Newsom has criticized him for being ineffective, neglectful, and dependent on law enforcement to clean up the streets. 

Faulconer rebuts, “I did not allow tents on the sidewalk in San Diego because I believe if you allow someone to live in a tent on a sidewalk, you’re condemning them to die on that sidewalk.”

Faulconer declared, “sending unemployment checks to convicted murderers isn’t progressive, letting people live on the streets isn’t compassion, partying with lobbyists during a lockdown isn’t leadership, the Governor’s actions have made this pandemic so much worse.”

Republican businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, says he’ll run for governor a second time if a recall election is held, “I’m a businessman, not a politician, let’s lower housing costs and get people back to work … It’s time for a fresh start,” Cox says in his ad. 

In the past, Cox began as a Democrat before switching to the Republican party, losing twice in Illinois, once for Congress, and once for a Senate seat before trying his bid in California. His focus is on improving the economy, trying to spark the similarities between Faulconer and Newsom as incompetent politicians. 

The number of petition signatures has reached about 1.3 million and still needs to be verified. Recall officials are placing a goal at 2 million knowing some signatures will be invalid. The recall election would be held this summer if passed through California’s multistep process of recall.

The Republican Party can then pursue a recall at any time. What is necessary for success is 12% of voter turnout from the previous election. This explains the 1,495,709 signatures needed. The state gives 160 days to gather all the signatures. Due to the pandemic and the trouble with conducting in-person signature collecting. The courts extended the deadline to collect and turn in signatures until Mar. 17, 2021.

The recall pursuers then have 30 days to have the signatures verified. If the signatures checkout, there is then a waiting period for people to withdraw signatures. If they hold up the recall is on. The Lt. Governor will schedule a date within 60-80 days. For Newsom, this would be during the summer or early fall. 

In the election, the voters will be asked two questions on the ballot. First, voters will be asked if they want to vote yes for a recall or no, against a recall. If more than 50% of voters vote no, then the current governor remains.

In the second part, the voter is asked to pick a replacement for the Governor, where they can pick whoever they choose. Once votes are certified by the Secretary of State, the candidate with the most votes becomes the Governor. Demonstrating how a Hollywood action star and Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor. 

Those who remember Gov.  Gray Davis’s recall in 2003 will remember that truly anyone can jump into the fray. “Schwarzenegger. We had Gary Coleman. We had Arianna Huffington … a porn star. It was all over the place,” Spivak Joshua Spivak, author of “The Recall Elections Blog,” told ABC News.

Major businesses have yet to pull endorsement of Newsom, telling there’s no need to fear too much over the recall petition or polls dropping. “I would say still at this point, big business is not participating in the recall,” said Tom Del Beccaro, chair of Rescue California, one of the committees driving the recall. “Honestly, I think big business is willing to continue to play the game of trying to get along with the governor, or they’re leaving the state,”

Veteran California Democratic strategist Bill Carrick pointed out that “Democrats now outnumber Republicans 2-1 and Public Policy Institute of California surveys have consistently shown that the state’s independent voters lean Democratic. With that built-in advantage, Newsom’s current numbers don’t show him to be in dangerous political territory yet.”

“There’s been a whole bunch of issues that have been very tough to solve,” Carrick said. “Things are going to get better because the vaccine is going to get more universally available to people. And so that’s going to change a lot of people’s attitudes.”

Gov. Davis said, “There will come a point … where the light bulb goes on in everyone’s mind, and they realize this is going to end, and we can finally get back to not exactly normal but pretty close to normal,” Davis told Newsweek.”He still has decent favorability ratings, and with good news happening in [2021] I would bet on him more than anyone else.” This was said after Davis saw Newsom weather the storm of bad times at a 58 approval rating in November. 

Contreras, a correctional officer and Republican from Modesto says “I don’t see Newsom compromising or in alignment with my values. I also don’t see him being recalled. They (Democrats) are changing the principles our nation was founded on. Newsom is a part of that movement away from what we have. Newsom isn’t the enemy but if we can get someone else in office. Then I’ll sign the petition.” 

California has been a proving ground for credibility and experience because of demographics and sheer size. Names will continue to come out of the woodwork for some of the recognition given to candidates in California. Not as conservative as Texas or Florida but it was not long ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor replacing Gray Davis in 2003 during the first recall election in California history. If the recall effort is successful, Newsom would be the second California governor recalled.

Bay Bridge connecting Treasure Island to San Francisco

Images courtesy of AP and Getty Images

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