Propelled by growing voter frustration over California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Republican-led drive to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office collected enough voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, state officials reported Monday, triggering for only the second time in state history a rapid-fire campaign to decide whether to oust a sitting governor.
Recall backers submitted more than 1,495,709 verified voter signatures — equal to 12% of all ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election — meeting the minimum threshold to force a special recall election, according to a tally released by Secretary of State Shirley Weber. Barring intervention by the courts, Newsom will face a statewide vote of confidence by year’s end.
“We knew we gathered enough signatures, and now it’s time to turn it over to the voters,” said Dave Gilliard, one of the strategists leading the effort to oust Newsom. “We’re very confident that they’re going to want to change direction in California and remove Gavin Newsom and go with someone else.”
Newsom’s advisors expressed confidence that the governor will defeat the attempt to remove him from office and criticized the recall effort as the work of far-right supporters of former President Trump.