The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s office reported Monday, marking a significant milestone in the more-than-year-long campaign to remove the head of the nation’s most populous state.
Recall supporters needed to turn in 1.5 million valid signatures to trigger an election, and organizers say they were able to collect more than 2.1 million by the March 17 deadline. Weber’s officer reported that more than 1.6 million signatures have been found to be valid.
Recall opponents now have a 30-day window wherein signers are allowed to withdraw their names from petitions. Unless Democrats can muster a huge withdrawal movement, the recall is likely to result in a special election come this fall.
The governor’s allies on Monday said they’d defeat the recall and characterized the campaign to unseat him three years into his term as a partisan attack on the Democratic governor.
“The Republican recall — backed by partisan, pro-Trump, and far-right forces — threatens our values as Californians and seeks to undo the important progress we’ve made under Gov. Newsom — fighting COVID, supporting families who are struggling, protecting our environment, common-sense gun safety laws,” Stop the Republican Recall campaign manager Juan Rodriguez said. “There’s simply too much at stake — we will win.”
Orrin Heatlie, the former Yolo County law enforcement officer who is the lead proponent of the recall movement, said he’s thrilled at the success of what he calls a “grassroots effort.”
“California needs a change in direction. This is a monumental period in our state’s history that people are going to have an opportunity to vote on what they feel is the proper course for California to take, and it’s wonderful to be able to bring that opportunity to them,” he told The Sacramento Bee.
RECALL CAMPAIGN BEGAN BEFORE COVID-19
Recall signers expressed varied reasons for wanting to remove the governor.
The original petition, filed in February 2020, notes concerns about Newsom’s progressive policies on immigration and his failure to alleviate the state’s growing homelessness problem.
But Newsom has also faced vitriol over the past year for his policies surrounding the pandemic. His decision to issue stay-at-home orders, restrict business activity, and halt indoor church gathering have angered conservatives up and down the state. Although the movement is largely backed by Republicans, organizers say about one-third of signatures come from Democrats and independents.