Apparently realizing that the recall effort against him will indeed prompt a vote, California Governor Gavin Newsom and his political allies have launched their own counter campaign.
The effort, dubbed Stop The Republican Recall, debuted with a ponderously-named web site — StopTheRepublicanrecall.com — and statements of support from national-level Democratic stars such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker and Katie Porter.
There was also a campaign-style video characterizing some recall proponents as “violent white supremacists like the Proud Boys who attacked our nation’s capitol on January 6th.”
NEW: Democrats launch campaign against Governor Newsom’s recall.
The groups warns a recall election could cost taxpayers $100 million, money they say that could be used toward vaccinating communities.
They also rolled out this ad: https://t.co/RpkvT4vO0x
— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) March 15, 2021
In recent weeks, it’s been clear that, as the recall seemed more and more real, Newsom has redoubled efforts to reopen the state. The closures and what many see as the governor’s politically-motivated decisions are often cited by recall supporters as motivating factors.
And last week, the group organizing the recall announced it had collected over 2 million signatures, which was it original goal. About 1,500,000 signatures are needed to trigger a recall election under state law. From the start, organizers set out to collect 2 million signatures in order to assure they had enough verifiable submissions. The total number collected as of Thursday is 2,060,000, according to the campaign’s senior advisor Randy Economy.
Organizers have until March 17 to gather signatures. Election officials have until April 29 to verify them. If more than 1,497,000 are valid, there will be a statewide vote, most likely in November.
Earlier media reports pegged validations by local officials running above 80%, supposedly a high number which, if it continues, would mean the effort will more than qualify. If there is a recall election, it will most likely be in November and feature just two questions on the ballot: “Should Gavin Newsom be recalled?” and another asking voters to choose a replacement.
When asked about the recall, Newsom has repeatedly demurred, saying he was focusing on the work before him as governor. But in his State of the State speech Tuesday night, he seemed to speak directly to the recall effort: “So to the California critics, who are promoting partisan power grabs and outdated prejudices and rejecting everything that makes California great, we say this: We will not be distracted from getting shots in arms and our economy booming again.”
On Monday, as the web site launched, Newsom tweeted a link to it adding to his previous stance the assurance that he will fight.
“I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it,” he wrote.
“There is too much at stake.”
“Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk.”
I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it.
There is too much at stake.
Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk.
Join us: https://t.co/Jfpe1IlF4m
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 15, 2021
The web site’s title makes clear that Newsom and his supporters are seeking to frame the recall as a partisan effort. The logic behind that is sound in majority-Democratic California. StopTheRepublicanRecall.com even has a tab called “Who is behind the recall?” that characterizes the organizers of the potential vote.
The recall is powered by a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-immigrant activists and Trump supporters. They want to overturn Governor Newsom’s election, and their victory could threaten California’s efforts to fight COVID-19.
To that Randy Economy, Senior Advisor and Official Media Spokesperson for RecallGavin2020 told Deadline about Newsom, “The only thing he knows in his playbook is to label everyone as racists and radicals. The fact is that 39% of the people whole effort are Democrats and Independents and undeclared California voters. It just goes to show how out of touch he is.”
A new poll of 1,000 in-state voters conducted by Emerson College and Nexstar Media, which operates six California TV stations, tallied the following responses last week:
Vote to Recall: 38%
Vote to Keep: 42%
Would not Vote: 6.1%
Nearly 9 in 10 Republicans, 86%, said they would vote to recall Newsom. Just under two-thirds of Democrats, 66%, said they would vote to keep him. Independents narrowly favored replacing Newsom, 39% to 35%.
But voters’ thoughts about the governor’s handling of the pandemic were more evenly divided:
Unsure/No Opinion: 10.9%
That last breakdown seems to support recall organizers’ focus on the pandemic and Newsom’s response. One thing that could impact the “yeas” and “nays” in the vote is whether a well-known challenger emerges as an alternative to Newsom.
A request to Governor Newsom’s office for an official statement on the anti-recall campaign was pending at the time of publication.
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