A petition to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom is fewer than 100,000 signatures shy of the required number needed to force a recall election in the state.
According to the Washington Examiner, the petition, which needs 1,495,709 signatures to be put up for a public vote, is currently sitting at just over 1.4 million as of Monday, with its backers saying they expect to reach 1.5 or even 1.6 million signatures by the end of the week.
Anne Dunsmore, the campaign manager and finance director of Rescue California, one of two groups pushing the effort, says she expects the petition will easily reach 2 million signatures by their March 17 deadline, giving them wiggle room in case some votes are invalidated during the petition’s final review. Two million signatures, she said, should be "more than enough" to ensure the effort has enough valid signatures in the end.
If the petition reaches the required signature count by the deadline – which, at this point, appears all but inevitable – the state lieutenant governor will be required to hold a special election for a public vote.
"Once that election [date] is selected, the ballot will have two things on it. One, a thumbs up or a thumbs down on the recall, and [two], the replacement," Dunsmore said. "If 82% of the [1.8 million] signatures that we submit are valid, then we only need 1.8 million signatures. We’re aiming for 2 million. So I think we should have more than enough."
Newsom has struggled to stay in public favor since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 43,000 Californians even as Newsom’s office has strangled local businesses and forced localities under threat of penalty to keep their local economies shut down. The state has even targeted churches, at first telling houses of worship they couldn’t meet in person at all and challenging in court anyone who dissented.
At the same time, Newsom himself was caught last year, mid-pandemic, attending a crowded birthday party for his political advisor at the upscale French Laundry, a $350-a-plate eatery in Napa Valley. Photos from the largely indoor event show Newsom & Co. sans face masks, dining on expensive cuisine while restaurants in neighboring counties and cities were forced to remain closed to the public, with many of them going out of business for lack of revenue.
(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)