A petition to recall embattled California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is picking up serious steam as the governor faces backlash over stringent coronavirus lockdown orders, a hypocritical dinner visit to the French Laundry, and an emerging unemployment scam.
What are the details?
As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had been signed more than 820,000 times, Rescue California representatives told Fox News. That's more than half the 1.5 million signatures needed to force a recall vote, and the group still has several more months to go to reach the requirement. The deadline for gathering signatures has been set for March 10, 2021.
Rescue California's campaign manager, Anne Dunsmore, told the news outlet that there are at least 2,000 to 3,000 active volunteers on the ground propelling the initiative forward.
"The citizen movement on this [effort] is really something to see, and you have to see it to believe it," she said of the sixth attempt to oust the governor in just under two years.
If the recall qualifies for the March ballot, California residents would simply vote yes or no as to whether Newsom should remain in office. Further down the ballot, they would cast votes for a host of ambitious Republican challengers — and perhaps even some Democrats — who either garner 65 nomination signatures and pay a roughly $4,000 filing fee, or just garner 7,000 signatures.
She pointed to several factors making the recall effort a realistic threat, one of which is that it has received backing from both local and national Republican Party figures.
Recently re-elected Rep. David Valadao reportedly confirmed the move, saying, "We all support it. Our campaign offices all had the petitions there. A lot of our events had folks there gathering signatures.''
Other prominent conservative figures such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are also backing the effort, promoting it on national TV and through fundraising efforts.
Another strategic advantage for the effort is the abnormally low bar that the state has set for recall petitions.
"California's governor faces one of the easiest recall requirements in the country,'' Joshua Spivak, a senior fellow at Wagner College's Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform, told Politico. "Voters only need to gather the signatures of 12 percent of voter turnout in the 2018 election — in this case, 1,495,709 signatures. California also grants 160 days to gather them. In other states, the signature percentage requirement is more than double and the time to gather is less than half."
Despite all of the outside help, Rescue California senior adviser Randy Economy argued that the greatest driver of the recall efforts is Newsom himself.
"This governor is his own worst enemy, and every day he does something more that puts him deeper and deeper into controversy, and he's become a problem here in California," he said. "He shut down the fifth-largest economy in the world the last nine months, and every single person out there in California should be outraged by that."