UPDATE, Aug. 12, 7:48 PM PT: A fundraising event to boost Gavin Newsom’s chances of beating a Sept. 14 recall drew about a dozen attendees on Thursday and raised more than $1 million, organizers said.
Newsom was scheduled to address the virtual Zoom event, with guests including Rob and Michelle Reiner, Alan and Cindy Horn, Byron Allen, Janet and Barry Lang, Ann Sarnoff and Matt Walden.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, Casey Wasserman, Andrew Hauptman, Van Fletcher and Skip Paul and Stephanie and Mark Robinson were among the chairs for the event, and Eric Smidt was among the hosts. Gonring, Lin, Spahn organized the event, which raised for the Stop the Republican Recall Of Governor Newsom committee.
The fundraiser was held as President Joe Biden issued his first statement on the recall via Twitter, writing, “Gavin Newsom is leading California through unprecedented crises—he’s a key partner in fighting the pandemic and helping build our economy back better. To keep him on the job, registered voters should vote no on the recall election by 9/14 and keep California moving forward.”
He also issued a lengthier statement in which he cited Newsom’s work on the climate crisis and on “standing up for the rights of women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.” There also are reports that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris may make campaign appearances for Newsom, who faces a challenge in that polls show proponents of his ouster have an advantage when it comes to enthusiasm to get out the vote. A poll last week even showed Newsom underwater with likely voters.
Republican Larry Elder has been leading in polls among the field of more than 40 candidates vying to replace Newsom, and the radio host got a big fundraising boost this week from developer Geoff Palmer, who chipped in $1 million to a committee backing his campaign. Another celebrity recall candidate, Caitlyn Jenner, appeared at a campaign event in Venice on Thursday to kickoff a statewide tour. Jenner had been in Australia to shoot an appearance in that country’s version of Big Brother.
Newsom also has been raising money for his 2022 reelection campaign, and has drawn such donors as director Steven Spielberg, UTA’s Jay Sures, director J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, producer Peter Guber, Walt Disney TV’s Dana Walden, writer-producer Chuck Lorre and NBCUniversal’s Jeff Shell.
PREVIOUSLY, Aug. 7: As recent polls show Gavin Newsom at significant risk of being ousted in the Sept. 14 recall election, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Casey Wasserman and Andrew Hauptman are among the names chairing a fundraiser next week for the California governor.
The Aug. 12 virtual event also is chaired by Van Fletcher and Skip Paul and Stephanie and Mark Robinson. Among the hosts are Eric Smidt, and Newsom is scheduled to attend.
Polls show the race tightening when focus turns to voters likely to turn out in the unusually timed election. Concerning to Democrats is the notion that recall proponents have an advantage when it comes to enthusiasm, i.e. turnout, even in a reliably blue state.
Proceeds from the Aug. 12 event will go to the Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom committee, which can raise unlimited amounts. Its largest single contribution so far came from Netflix’s Reed Hastings, who donated $3 million. Tickets to this event start at $10,000 for the “friend” designation, $25,000 for “supporter,” $50,000 for “co-host” and $100,000 for “chair,” according to an invite.
In a statement, Katzenberg said, “This recall effort is a Republican led sham. I’m glad Hollywood is stepping up to raise money to defeat this nonsense.”
Katzenberg also is sending this note to potential donors: “This is all part of Republican effort to delegitimize our election process and suppress the vote nationally. Governor Newsom was first elected in 2018 with 62% of the vote, which was greater than any Democratic candidate for governor in state history. He recently signed into law his California Comeback plan, which will boost California’s recovery by providing immediate relief for families, combat homelessness, improve infrastructure, fight wildfires and make historic investments in education.”
Hollywood studios already have lined up their support for Newsom, as the Stop the Republican Recall committee also has garnered contributions from the Motion Picture Association, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer. A recent contribution came from Byron Allen, who gave $10,000. Other major funding for the Stop the Republican Recall committee has come from SEIU Local 2015 and the California Democratic Party.
Voters will be asked two questions: Should Newsom be removed from office? If the answer “yes” wins, then the next question is relevant: Who should replace him? More than 40 candidates have qualified, and while conservative radio host Larry Elder has gained a plurality in some recent polls, a SurveyUSA poll this week showed Kevin Paffrath, a Democrat and YouTube personality, although the results were within the margin of error. The poll also showed Newsom underwater on the recall question.
Newsom’s 2022 reelection campaign, meanwhile, has drawn recent contributions from Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel, who gave $10,000, and CAA’s Kevin Huvane, who gave $25,000.