Netflix executive Reed Hastings on Thursday donated $3 million to a political action committee opposing the campaign to recall California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
According to Deadline, “The contribution was reported to the California Secretary of State on Thursday afternoon, and is the largest single contribution to date to Stop The Republican Recall.”
Newsom launched the committee in March to defend his seat in a potential recall election, which seems inevitable after state election officials announced last month that organizers had turned in a sufficient number of signatures for ballot placement. The state has not formally approved the recall or set an election date, which will likely occur this fall.
The Associated Press reported that state rules allow Newsom to raise unlimited amounts of money through the committee “while other candidates must adhere to contribution limits.” The fund also received significant amounts from other donors on Thursday, including $400,000 from the United Nurses Association of California/Union of Health Care Professionals PAC; $300,000 from the Southern California District Council of Laborers PAC; $150,000 from the Union of American Physicians and Dentists; and $150,000 from Elizabeth Simons, the daughter of a retired hedge fund billionaire.
Gavin Newsom $4 million day in anti-recall committee contributions (so far):
$3,000,000 – Reed Hastings
$400,000 – United Nurses Assn of CA
$300,000 – Southern CA Dist Council of Laborers
$150,000 – Union of American Physicians & Dentists
$150,000 – Elizabeth Simons pic.twitter.com/ZgSK2jeq4U
— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) May 21, 2021
Billionaire couple Stewart and Lynda Resnick also support the committee, along with the California Democratic Party.
Stop The Republican Recall has been endorsed by several high-profile progressives, including former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“Our broad coalition of endorsers is committed to fighting back against the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, assorted conspiracy theorists, and hard-core, anti-immigrant Trump supporters who want to overturn Governor Newsom’s election and stop California’s progress in combating COVID-19,” the committee’s website says.
Recall supporters have rejected that characterization and insist the drive is a bipartisan effort primarily based on Newsom’s coronavirus response.
“Over two million Californians of all backgrounds are united because this governor’s incompetence and hypocritical behavior cannot go unchecked,” the official Twitter account of the California Republican Party previously tweeted.
Gov. @GavinNewsom labels all these people who signed the recall a bunch of white supremacists and militia members. Over two million Californians of all backgrounds are united because this governor's incompetence and hypocritical behavior cannot go unchecked. #RecallGavinNewsom https://t.co/ySkbFCKiqc
— CAGOP (@CAGOP) March 16, 2021
Politico reporter Jeremy B. White, who covers California, described Hasting’s donation as “a dramatic change from 2018” when he teamed up with a group of billionaires to back former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for governor in the nonpartisan primary election that year. They funded a political action committee that shelled out big bucks to defeat Newsom, who won the primary and went on to beat Republican businessman John Cox in the general.
As The New Yorker’s Tad Friend reported at the time:
The PAC raised and spent more than twenty-two million dollars; Michael Bloomberg and Eli Broad, former Newsom Allies, donated five million between them. Newsom immediately wrote off both men: “They clearly do not want to have a relationship anymore.” He was a little less brusque with Reed Hastings, the Netflix C.E.O., who’d given seven million. Hastings told me he explained to Newsom that “it wasn’t an anti-Gavin thing – it was just that I had a great relationship with Antonio.”
Several Republicans have entered the race to replace Newsom, including Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former U.S. Representative Doug Ose who served California’s 3rd congressional district, and Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympian.