California Democrats are literally changing the rules to help Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) fend off a recall effort, which was officially certified only days ago.
State officials confirmed last week the recall against Newsom would proceed after recall organizers collected 1.7 million signatures to trigger the recall election.
What are the details?
California Democrats, who control the state legislature, passed a bill Monday that would move up the recall date. The bill was then sent to Newsom's desk, who quickly signed the bill into law, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The law amends existing recall rules to allow the election to happen at least 30 days earlier than under existing state law. By moving up the recall date, Newsom's challengers will have less time to campaign against him, giving Newsom a clear upper hand — not that he needed one in Democrat-haven California.
Democrats' proposal would essentially bypass the legislative review process so long as lawmakers set aside money for counties to pay for the cost of the election. The state Department of Finance already sought a cost estimate from counties and lawmakers plan to approve $215 million to cover the local expense.
Ironically, the bill that passed Monday reverses a previous rule change passed by California Democrats four years ago to help one of their own who was facing a recall effort at the time.
"The bill lawmakers passed Monday is in contrast to the measures passed four years ago, when Democrats adjusted the recall rules to help State Sen. Josh Newman's odds of surviving a recall. At that time in 2017, lawmakers were looking to extend the timeline of certifying the recall election for the ballot, and added the review period that they're now trying to bypass," the Bee reported.
With no legislative review, the recall election could be held within months.
What was the reaction?
Republican lawmakers were understandably frustrated with Democrats.
"We have the unprecedented circumstance where Gov. Gavin Newsom, with the stroke of a pen, will be changing California law in order to try to beat back his own recall," Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R) said.
"It is an attempt to put a thumb on the scale, to try to obtain a partisan outcome for one side," Assemblyman Vince Fong (R) reacted, the AP noted.
Democrats, however, sold the rule change as trying to expedite the recall election that Republicans wanted.
"This bill ensures the election happens as quickly as possible, which, my belief is, that what's the recall was about, but also ensuring that as many Californians who want to participate can participate in this election," Assemblyman Phil Ting (D) said.