Newsom Recall Campaign Announces 1.95 Million Signatures

"Gavin Newsom" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

On Sunday, leaders of the RecallGavin2020 campaign announced they had collected enough signatures that could spark a special election this year. 

At a press conference, organizers of an effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared that their effort in support of the recall had gained $1.95 million signatures more than a week before the deadline on March 17. Although said signatures are already enough, the recall movement leaders stated that they are still planning to reach 2 million signatures before the deadline. 

Randy Economy, a political adviser working on the effort, said, “That is more than enough to be able to have this initiative qualified for a special election later this year to let the people finally decide … what is gonna happen with the fate and the future of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.”

He added, “Californians are consistently becoming more disgruntled with how their state’s run.”

Randy also stated, “One thing we want to let everybody know here, especially to the politicians across the street and the lobbyists that have destroyed California’s dream for decades and generations, is that your game’s over.” He continued, “From now on, the people are in charge of California.”    

However, before triggering a special election, election officials still have to confirm that at least 1.5 million of these signatures come from registered California voters. 

According to The Sacramento Bee, the Secretary of State’s Office determined early February that around 83% of these signatures gathered were verified. If this rate stayed the same with all of the petitions, it would be enough to start a recall election. 

One of the effort leaders, Miker Netter, stated that around 1.6 million of these signatures were collected by volunteers.

He said, “I don’t think you’ve ever seen a volunteer movement like this.”

Netter added, “It’s literally people from all walks of life, all parties, all religions. We have diversity across the board collecting and united (on) one thing, and that’s the fact that California needs a new governor.”

The recall campaign has gained traction as criticism climbed against Newsom for his actions in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly his stringent restrictions against gatherings and on certain businesses.

The recall campaign organizers are banking on what they declared more than 100,000 volunteers who signed up to help gather signatures. 

Randy Economy, a longtime political strategist advising the recall campaign, also said, “It’s old-school politics. Put up a card table and sit out in front of a grocery store. Go to a park, go where there are people. We’re changing the rules of the game. Volunteerism in politics still works.”

“Gavin Newsom” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

Newsom has already started stockpiling his campaign account before his anticipated run for reelection in 2022. The filings that were made this week have shown that he ended 2020 with over $20 million in the bank, money he could use to defend himself in a recall election.

Although Newsom has not publicly addressed the recall attempt, behind the scenes, his political advisers are preparing for what is anticipated to be an expensive fight. Those advisers say they do not want to give a potential recall of the oxygen it would need to cross the finish line. Still, they are making the necessary preparations to mount a campaign if it becomes necessary.

In the years intervening in Newsom’s office, California has changed from a state that has regularly elected Republicans into one of the firmest bases of the Democratic party. Democrats hold every statewide office of California, supermajorities in both chambers, and 42 of the state’s 53 seats in the House of Representatives.