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Gov. Gavin Newsom fights recall effort with millions in donations from Netflix CEO, 49ers owner, and other wealthy elites

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Embattled California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is fighting the gubernatorial recall initiative in his state with a war chest filled with sizable contributions from wealthy progressive elites, including millions of dollars from Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings.

According to a state filing issued Thursday, Hastings recently donated $3 million to a fund aimed at combating efforts in a recall, which will likely land before voters as a ballot measure in the fall.

Hastings' contribution to the fund, which is called "Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom," is by far the largest single donation to date. But according to Politico, it's merely demonstrative of the "formidable fundraising network" that Newsom can tap into in his bid to remain governor.

The news outlet noted that in addition to Hastings' millions, the pro-Newsom fund "has also drawn six-figure outlays from a range of prominent individuals and industries that include agricultural power couple Stewart and Lynda Resnick, 49ers CEO Jed York, law firms and labor unions."

Also, the array of big-dollar contributions only bolsters the significant financial advantage Newsom already enjoys in the recall election due to certain California rules that govern the process.

Politico reported that because state law treats Newsom's recall fight as a ballot issue rather than a candidacy, "Newsom can raise unlimited sums to fend off a recall effort that will likely land before voters in the fall, while other gubernatorial candidates are subject to campaign limits of $32,400 per election in their direct accounts."

Given Newsom's massive edge over the competition in fundraising and California's extreme bent toward Democratic policies, it's safe to say his ouster from office via recall is a long shot. Even so, the fact that the option will be put before voters says something about his popularity, or lack thereof, in the state.

Recall efforts against Newsom spawned last year as a result of his bungled handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which included a public relations disaster over Newsom's maskless attendance at a large dinner party at the French Laundry, an high-end restaurant in Napa Valley.

Last month, the campaign to recall Newsom obtained enough signatures — more than 1.5 million — to trigger a special election in the state.

According to Deadline, declared challengers will include former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Congressman Doug Ose, and Caitlyn Jenner.

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