UPDATE, 7 PM PT: Gavin Newsom indicated that he would appoint an African American woman to the U.S. Senate if Dianne Feinstein retires.
“We have multiple names in mind, and the answer is yes,” Newsom told Joy Reid as he appeared The ReidOut.
Feinstein has not said that she is retiring, but Newsom had been under some pressure to fill Kamala Harris’ Senate seat with an African American woman after Harris was elected vice president. Instead, he appointed California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who became the state’s first Latino senator.
Earlier in the day, Newsom launched a counter campaign to the recall effort and, in addition to the MSNBC appearance, will guest on ABC’s The View on Tuesday.
Newsom said of the recall campaign, “This one is serious, and it’s serious for many different reasons. It’s the uncertainty of being on the ballot with the question up or down, but also the folks behind it. I mean, let me be just more candid and more direct. The principal sponsor of this recall effort wants to put microchips in immigrant aliens. We have folks that are literally part of the 3 percent militia group, right wing group that are part of the principal proponents of this effort.”
PREVIOUSLY: Vice President Kamala Harris called California Governor Gavin Newsom as she boarded Air Force Two in Las Vegas on its way to Los Angeles.
The VP’s office said that Harris “spoke with California Governor Gavin Newsom and reiterated her support for the Governor. They also discussed the American Rescue plan and its impact on Californians.”
Newsom earlier today launched a counter campaign, StopTheRepublicanRecall.com, with statements of support from figures such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker and Katie Porter. Harris’ name did not appear on the list, but her public support suggests that she could be enlisted at some point should the recall effort make the ballot. President Joe Biden has not yet commented on the recall campaign. Last week, the group organizing the recall effort announced that they had collected about 2 million signatures, with about 1.5 million verified signatures needed to trigger an election.
Harris and her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, landed at LAX shortly after 4 PM PT and then headed to their private residence. They had no other public events planned after their visit to Las Vegas, where Harris visited a vaccination clinic and the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, and Emhoff visited a food relief organization. They are part of a weeklong series of events that the administration has planned to promote the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion relief package that Biden signed into law last week.
Newsom made a point of calling the recall a “Republican” effort, clearly an attempt to win over Democrats who may nevertheless be frustrated by his response to the pandemic. The newly launched anti-recall site says that the effort is “powered by a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-immigrant activists and Trump supporters.” The site is backed by the California Democratic Party, and although there is no organized effort yet to raise money in Hollywood in support of Newsom, there is some expectation among donors that one will quickly ramp up if the recall qualifies.
During the last recall in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was among the most prominent of the 135 candidates on the recall ballot, creating a split of loyalties in the left-leaning industry. While Schwarzenegger drew significant support from the industry, Davis also drew figures like Bruce Willis, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson for a fundraiser just a few weeks before the vote. Former President Bill Clinton also headlined a fundraiser for Davis at Ron Burkle’s estate. Schwarzenegger, of course, went on to handily win the recall and, three years later, was the last Republican to win statewide office along with Steve Poizner, elected in 2006 as insurance commissioner.