The Republican National Committee is injecting hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the effort to recall first-term California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) from office.
According to Politico, the RNC will be partnering with the California Republican Party, and will donate $250,000 to the recall effort. As part of the effort, the GOP will also invest in text banking and a digital operation to encourage voters to sign on to the effort.
“Gov. Newsom’s authoritarian measures, blatant overreach and complete mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven that he is woefully unqualified to lead the state of California,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Politico in a statement Thursday. “It is time the people use their constitutional recourse to remove him from power.”
The recall effort has gradually been attracting a national profile, particularly in recent weeks, as organizers have been getting closer to hitting the number of signatures required to force Californians to vote on Newsom well ahead of the 2022 election.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki observed that President Joe Biden opposes any efforts to recall Newsom, even as the California governor has refused to use the word “recall” himself in his various appearances, according to Politico.
In addition to sharing a commitment to a range of issues with @GavinNewsom from addressing the climate crisis to getting the pandemic under control, @POTUS clearly opposes any effort to recall @GavinNewsom
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 9, 2021
In order for the recall effort to go before voters, organizers must submit enough signatures to equal 12% of the number of Californians who voted in the last election, and the signatures must be verified by the California Secretary of State’s office. To recall Newsom from office, organizers will need 1.5 million signatures before March 17, 2021.
A spokesperson for the recall campaign plans to update the public on the number of signatures that have been gathered on Friday, according to Fox News Los Angeles reporter Elex Michaelson. Tom Del Beccaro, chair of Rescue California, an organization that has been assisting in the recall effort, has said that the 1.5 million signature threshold has been reached, but that they want an additional 400,000 signatures to prepare for verification.
Tom Del Becarro, chair of the Rescue California PAC (a major recall supporter), said they HAVE reached the 1.5 million vote threshold, but wants to get to 1.9 million signatures by the end of March.
Economy disputes that figure & says he’s the sole spokesman for the campaign.
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) February 11, 2021
Recall effort organizers, however, have denied that they’ve received more than 1.5 million signatures, and called on people to not become “complacent and overconfident.”
Don’t become complacent and overconfident. The recall needs 300,000 more signatures to qualify for special election. It’s anybody’s game. Help us get to the goal before the clock stops March 10. Get your petition at #recallgavin2020.com fill it out and mail it in today.
— #recallgavin2020.com (@recallgavin2020) February 7, 2021
Various Republican candidates have already expressed interest in running against Newsom should the recall effort make it to the ballot. One of the candidates, John Cox, is Newsom’s 2018 Republican gubernatorial opponent, who has said the problems he ran to fix in 2018 have only gotten worse.
“The state is in crisis,” Cox told Inside California Politics in an interview. “It’s kind of the things I talked about during the run in 2018. Housing and homelessness are worse, but now we have the pandemic and the mismanagement that’s gone on during this whole thing.”
“We’ve got small businesses that have been crushed, while Costco and Home Depot and big chains are doing just fine. We also have our kids being kept out of school and being kept out of activities,” added Cox.
Kevin Faulconer, the former Republican mayor of San Diego, has also declared himself as a candidate, and has been endorsed by a majority of the Republican lawmakers in both the California assembly and the California senate.
“Parents across California are fed up, and they are demanding that their kids be back in school. This is a movement to decide whether we stay in the past, with Governor Newsom’s one-party rule, or we embrace a new future,” said Faulconer in his announcement speech.
“We are going to decrease homelessness, not condone it. We’re going to support your job, not destroy it. We’re going to let you keep more of what you earn, not tax it. We’re going to lead the California comeback,” he said.
On the other hand, California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Koulanakis (D), the highest-ranking executive in Newsom’s chain of command, has issued an apparent warning shot directed toward Democrats who may be considering a Newsom challenge.
“Governor Newsom does not deserve to be recalled. And I think it would be shameful for any Democrat to put their name on the ballot to replace them, myself included,” Kounalakis told Fox News in a statement. “The focus of the Governor, and everyone in elected office right now, should be on vaccinations, getting kids back to school, and people back to work.”
Only two governors in U.S. history have ever been recalled: Lynn Frazier, the former governor of North Dakota, was recalled in 1921, and Gray Davis, the former governor of California, was recalled in 2003.
Davis, who was succeeded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, believes Newsom has been dealt a poor hand, politically speaking. However, he also doesn’t think that the recall effort will ultimately succeed, even if it makes it to the ballot.
“There’s no charismatic leader,” Davis told Spectrum News 1 in a recent interview. “There’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
Back in 2003, Davis faced off against dozens and dozens of opponents, including his own Democratic lieutenant governor. Voters ultimately recalled Davis by a margin of more than 10 points. Schwarzenegger received 48% of the vote, Davis’ lieutenant governor received 31%, and then-State Senator Tom McClintock won 13% of the vote. Larry Flint, the late publisher of Hustler Magazine, another Democratic candidate, placed seventh and received the second-most votes of any other Democrat in the race.