California's governor faces recall election — Gavin Newsom

Demonstrators display a sign calling for a recall on Gavin Newsom in California back in November

Great news today for all of the reality TV personalities, washed up porn stars, and crypto podcast bros who aspire to run against Gavin Newsom in a theoretical recall election for governor of California.

The campaign to remove Newsom, fuelled by his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has gained more than 1.6 million verified signatures.

But Newsom is considered unlikely to lose the recall vote, in a state that has swung even more heavily Democrat in the past two decades.

The only other time a governor has faced a recall election was in 2003, when Democrat Gray Davis was voted out and replaced with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., in January.

"There's too much at stake", he added.

Newsom won election in 2018 with support from more than 60% of voters.

California, the most populous and wealthiest U.S. state, allows voters to hold a referendum on replacing its governor if they can gather the signatures of 12% of previous voters. I hope she celebrates tonight while on vacation.

The recall against Newsom, a first-term Democrat seen as a possible White House hopeful someday, will be among the highest-profile political races in the country this year. The governor launched an anti-recall campaign in March, crafting the effort as one driven by Republican extremists and adherents to former President Donald Trump, who lost California twice.

Newsom's woes started in November when he was caught dining out at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant for a lobbyist's birthday as he told Californians to avoid gatherings, reinforcing perceptions that he is out of touch with people. He and other Republicans were also frustrated by many of Newsom's liberal policy decisions.

The state has not yet formally approved the recall or set a date for an election. Voters will have 30 days from Thursday to decide whether they still want to go forward with the recall.

Under California law, the number of signatures calling for a recall vote must equal 12% of the number of votes cast in the previous election for that office. KTLA reports that the date might not be set until Septemeber, but the election date may not be that relevant to the candidates, as most are merely in this for publicity stunt or name recognition purposes.

What reaction has there been?

"The Republican recall threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress we made - from fighting COVID, to helping struggling families, protecting our environment, and passing commonsense gun solutions", Newsom tweeted on Monday.

According to figures from the Secretary of State's office, the recall effort has about 1.63 million validate signatures, well exceeding what they need to qualify for the ballot.

"This recall attempt is a far-right partisan power grab and a waste of money", Mr Newsom's Stop the Republican Recall campaign said.

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