It is official—California Governor Gavin Newsom is the second governor in the state’s history to face a recall election. After reaching the threshold of 1.5 million signatures in April, state election law required that voters be given 30 days—from April 26 to June 8—to request county officials remove their signatures from the recall petition. 

There have been 54 efforts to recall California governors since the power was put in the state constitution in 1911. Only one succeeded when Gov. Gray David was recalled in 2003. He was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to a report from the Secretary of State’s Office, only 43 of over 1.7 million California residents who signed the petition asked to have their names removed from the list, leaving 1,719,943 signatures on the recall petition. The effort needed 1,495,709 verified signatures to trigger a recall election. An estimated 441,406 signatures were invalidated.

As previously reported by UncoverDC, in March, Newsom and his national-level Democratic political allies launched a campaign in opposition to the ongoing recall efforts against him, arguing that the movement is powered by “a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-immigrant activists, and Trump supporters.”

Dubbed Stop The Republican Recall, the failed effort broadcast statements of support from left-wing players like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Alex Padilla, Sen. Corey Booker, and Stacey Abrams. The message above their statements declared:

“Our broad coalition of endorsers is committed to fighting back against the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, assorted conspiracy theorists, and hard-core, anti-immigrant Trump supporters who want to overturn Governor Newsom’s election and stop California’s progress in combating COVID-19.”

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber sent a letter to the State Department of Finance (DOF) reporting the withdrawn signatures. The Finance Department will now consider the cost of the recall if it’s held in a special election, as well as the cost if it’s held during the next regularly scheduled election in November 2021. A recent estimate by the DOF revealed the recall could cost approximately $215 million.

After agreeing to include the $215 million in the budget bill, Senate President pro tem Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said there’s no obligation for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to conduct its 30-day review. By side-stepping the review, the recall election could be held sooner. Some Democrats say that scenario would be beneficial to Newsom.

Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. However, his handling of issues, highlighted by the pandemic, lit a fire under the recall effort. Among other issues, recall supporters believe Newsom mishandled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, has not done enough to address the state’s homelessness rate, and supported sanctuary city policies and water rationing

The recall election will ask voters two questions—the first being whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second would ask who should replace Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election; no majority needed.

Candidates who are running to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election or considering it include, clockwise from top left; former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, former Rep. Doug Ose, retired adult movie actress Mary Carey, billboard model Angelyne and Caitlyn Jenner. (Los Angeles Times; San Diego Union-Tribune; Associated Press; Getty Images)