California Gov. Gavin Newsom to Officially Face Recall Election This Fall
Do you think that California Gov. Gavin Newsom should be recalled?
by Causes | 4.27.21
What’s the story?
- Opponents of California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) have gathered enough signatures to trigger a recall election this fall according to data released by California’s secretary of state.
- The secretary of state announced Wednesday that supporters of Newsom’s recall submitted more than 2 million verified signatures, which netted them 1,626,042 valid signatures ― more than the 1,495,709 required to force the recall.
- Newsom has faced criticism over his handling of California’s pandemic response. The lockdowns he ordered have caused the state to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and California’s K-12 public schools have one of the lowest percentages of students who have returned to in-person learning among any of the 50 states.
- Newsom also sparked accusations of hypocrisy in the fall of 2020 after participating in a birthday dinner for a lobbyist at an exclusive restaurant that charges a minimum of $350 per person less than two hours after he urged Californians to cancel their Thanksgiving gatherings. He apologized the next day, but in the weeks following the incident the state imposed more restrictions on in-person dining amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
- Newsom’s political support in California has experienced a marked decline in recent months. A Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll found his approval rating declined from 64% in September 2020 to 46% in late January 2021, while his disapproval number climbed from 36% to 48% in the same period.
- A spokesman for RecallGavin2020 praised the announcement that advocates for Newsom’s recall met the signature threshold:
“California is at a crossroad. People are frustrated at the destructive policies, divisive politics and manipulative tactics conducted by Gavin Newsom since the day he became governor. We cannot continue to allow one elected official in California to control each aspect of our lives without checks and balances.”
- Newsom tweeted the following in response to the progress made by proponents of his recall:
“This Republican recall threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress we’ve made -- from fighting COVID, to helping struggling families, protecting our environment, and passing commonsense gun violence solutions. There’s too much at stake.”
What’s next in the recall?
- Monday’s announcement by the secretary of state that the recall petition had enough signatures to trigger the recall election prompts a 30-day period in which valid signatories to the petition can withdraw their names.
- If the petition still has enough signatures after the June 8th deadline, the state will begin a process of budgeting for the recall ahead of the announcement that will likely occur in early September to set the date for the recall special election.
- It’s unclear at this time when exactly the recall election will occur, although a date in either late October or in November is most likely.
What role do voters play in a recall election?
- When voters cast their ballot in a California recall election they’re asked to weigh in on two questions: whether the politician should be recalled from office, and who should succeed them if they’re recalled.
- A majority vote is required for the recall question to succeed.
- If the politician is recalled, the candidate with the most votes is elected to replace them, regardless of whether they received a majority of the vote.
How common are gubernatorial recall elections?
- Newsom's recall election will be only the fifth gubernatorial recall election to occur in the last 100 years throughout the country.
- The other four gubernatorial recalls occurred in North Dakota (1921), Arizona (1988), California (2003), and Wisconsin (2012). Only two resulted in the governor’s removal, as Lynn Frazier of North Dakota and Gray Davis of California were recalled, while the Arizona recall election was canceled due to the governor’s impeachment.
- Despite the rarity of successful recalls and the challenges in forcing a recall election, every California governor since 1960 has faced a recall effort.
- In the successful 2003 recall of California Gov. Gray Davis (D), more than 100 candidates ran to replace him, which led to him being replaced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who won 48.58% of the vote.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Shiny Things via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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