On September 14th, California residents will vote to recall Governor Gavin Newsom (D) from office.
The date was announced Thursday by California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D), who confirmed that enough petition signatures had been received to qualify the election.
The short timeline will give Newsom a significant advantage over his opponents, who will have just two weeks to declare their campaigns and raise money.
Understandably, Republicans are furious with Democratic lawmakers for accelerating the election date (which they did by waiving a traditional review window).
“I don’t think anyone is pretending this is anything other than using the power of the governor’s current office to try and beat back a threat to that power,” argues Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (R). “And the response we’re now getting from our politicians is to be even more corrupt. So it just feeds into the rationale for this movement coming together in the first place.”
The all-mail recall election, which is expected to cost the state $276 million, asks voters whether Newsom should be removed and then presents a list of candidates.
Likely opponents include:
- Larry Elder – a conservative talk show host
- Kevin Faulconer – a former San Diego mayor
- John Cox – a businessman who ran against Newsom in 2018
- Doug Ose – a former US Representative for California’s 3rd congressional district (1999-2005)
- Caitlyn Jenner – a transgender reality TV star and former Olympic athlete
“This election is just a few weeks away,” laments Assemblymember David Chiu (D). “The risks of low turnout, the risks of an uninformed electorate…could be catastrophic for our state.”
Governor Newsom and his supporters have framed the recall election as a power grab by extremist Trump supporters, but it is far more than that.
Republicans are frustrated with Newsom for his decision to prioritize liberal causes over very real problems including wildfires, homelessness, crime, drought, blackouts, and water shortages.
Teachers and parents are upset with him over strict COVID rules that kept schools closed far longer than in other states.
Young Democrats have beef with Newsom over his decision to side with Uber and Lyft against the prerogatives of gig workers.
And black women don’t like him because he didn’t replace Vice President Kamala Harris with a black woman when she left the California Senate for the White House. With Harris gone, the chamber has no representation from black women.
Farmers are perhaps the most upset of all, as they have been asked to grow crops without water. In May, farms belonging to the State Water Project were told to expect 5% of the amount of water they typically receive. This week, Newsom asked residents and businesses to cut water use by 15%.
In total, the petition to oust Governor Newsom received more than 2 million signatures.
The only time a California governor has been recalled from office was in 2003, when Governor Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). The state hasn’t had a Republican governor since.