The vote to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom has cleared a huge hurdle this week.
California’s Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced the validation of the 1,495,709 petition signatures needed to trigger the recall election on Monday evening. The Secretary, a Democrat and Newsom ally, invalidated 20% of the signatures, considered a high rate after just .06% were invalidated in the 2020 presidential election. Still, the effort had many more valid signatures than were needed.
The petition signers will now have the option to remove their signatures as state officials calculate the election’s cost, a process which could take up to three months, according to The Los Angeles Times. After Weber issues an official final certification of the signatures, the state’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis can then call for the election to occur within 60 to 80 days.
Newsom, a Democrat, has recently appeared on national cable shows in an effort to salvage his image among Democrats in the state who have abandoned him over policies surrounding everything from Covid rules and school closures to taxes. One of the hot button topics was California church closures. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Newsom’s policies on churches unconstitutional.
Seizing on the dissatisfaction among the state’s voters, Newsom’s opponents collected signatures over a period of several months with goals being met ahead of schedule and the final number surpassing what was required.
Newsom would become the latest Democrat governor of the state to be recalled even while he has a higher favorability rating than former California Governor Gray Davis prior to his being kicked out of office in 2003.
Newsom’s spokesperson called the recall effort a Republican “scheme,” according to CBS News13 Sacramento.
Newsom won election in 2018 with support from 60% of voters. Opponents need to chip away at just 10% of voters to oust him in a state where just a quarter of registered voters are Republicans, a number equal to the number of independents.
Republicans have not won statewide office since 2006, when voters gave Schwarzenegger a second term.