California Governor Gavin Newsom attends a press conference to launch a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination supersite in San Diego, California on February 8, 2021.
Sandy Huffker | swimming pool | via Reuters
Gavin Newsom’s work is on the line sooner than expected.
The California Democrat faces a September 14 special election that could make him the third state governor in U.S. history to be removed from office by recall.
Democrats have long had a firm grip on California statewide political leadership. But although the state’s Republican voters outnumber Republican voters by nearly 2 to 1, the recall effort not only qualified for the ballot, but poses a legitimate threat to Newsom – thanks in large part. party to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what to know about voter choices in America’s largest state in terms of population and GDP:
How will the elections work?
All registered California voters are eligible to run in next week’s special election. Postal ballots were sent to all active registered voters.
Ballots have two parts. The first simply asks if Newsom should be removed from his governorship. If more than 50% of the votes are “yes”, it is the end of the road for Newsom.
The second part of the ballot asks which candidate should replace Newsom. If the governor is removed, the candidate with the most votes will be elected for the remainder of Newsom’s term, which ends on January 2, 2023.
Voters can only complete part of the ballot if they wish. They can also select a replacement candidate, even if they vote against Newsom’s recall.
How do we get here?
Supporters of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall campaign are gearing up for the upcoming recall election with a rally and briefing on June 30, 2021 in Carlsbad, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Opponents of Newsom have collected nearly 1.5 million signatures needed to trigger the recall election. This limit was equal to 12% of the votes cast in the last governor’s election in 2018.
The petition was approved in June 2020, and its supporters were initially given a deadline of November 17 last year to collect signatures. But he got a four-month extension because of the impact of the pandemic on his efforts.
This extra time turned out to be crucial. Signings began in late 2020, when photos surfaced of Newsom Dining without a mask, touted by lobbyists and the extraordinarily expensive restaurant, The French Laundry.
At the time, Newsom and the state government were advising Californians to wear masks and follow social distancing rules as COVID cases began to increase.
Newsom apologized for attending the dinner, saying he had “made a grave mistake” and admitting that “the spirit of what I had preached all the time was being contradicted”.
But the backlash sparked the recall election on Covid – even though the pandemic was not mentioned in the original petition.
Instead, he refers to homelessness, high taxes, and other issues that the Conservatives have long included in their top criticisms of California. The petition, filed in February 2020 by retired sheriff Sergeant Orrin Heatley, was Newsom’s sixth recall attempt, which began in 2019.
But the recall campaign website now puts The French Laundry incident first on the list of reasons for Newsom’s removal.
Who walks ?
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder campaigns against incumbent California governor Gavin Newsom in the California governor’s recall election on September 2, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
There are 46 contenders vying to oust Newsom. Like the memory of 2003 which made Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of the state, this year’s election featured various personalities.
Of the 24 Republican candidates on the ballot, radio host Larry Elder has established himself as the undisputed leader of this group.
Elder, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, has reportedly raised more than $ 13 million, eclipsing most of his recall rivals, while remaining well below the tens of millions raised by opponents of Newsom’s withdrawal.
Other Republican candidates include John Cox, who traveled for campaign events with a live Kodiak bear in tow, and Caitlyn Jenner, former Olympian and reality TV personality.
Among the nine Democrats are Hollywood actor Patrick Kilpatrick and YouTube millionaire Kevin Pfarth, as well as a student, free speech advocate and “cannabis policy advisor” calling on Californians to vote against Newsom’s recall.
Two members of the Green Party, one member of the Libertarian Party and 10 unaffiliated candidates are also on the ballot.
Who should win?
Just days before the election, Newsom is increasingly likely to stay in its seat.
For much of the past month, polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight showed voters were in favor of keeping Newsom as governor, but only by a modest margin.
According to the FiveThirtyEight poll average, recent polls show Newsom’s removal option has a priority of more than 10 points.
Meanwhile, betting markets seem to be remembering efforts to waste most of their energy over the past month. Newsom’s chances of staying in power are at their highest since early July.
How unusual is all of this?
Attempts to recall elected officials are not uncommon in California – in fact, there have been 179 since 1913.
But a small fraction of those petitions collected enough signatures to trigger a ballot, and it was only in six cases that the officer was actually recalled.
Only one California governor, the unpopular Democrat Gray Davis, has been recalled. In that 2003 special election, 135 candidates ran for Davis’ post, including a comedian, pornstar, and others who had never run before.
Davis was eventually replaced by Republican Schwarzenegger, a former bodybuilder champion and action movie megastar who enjoyed universal recognition.
What effect will the recall have on America?
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are both expected to campaign for Newsom in California this week.
Losing Newsom during the recall could have major ramifications for Democrats across the country – beyond the embarrassment and desperation of losing control of the Dark Blue state a year before the midterm elections.
Control of the US Senate could be on the line at some point.
Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, 88, has held her seat since 1992. The oldest senator in the United States, her health has come under scrutiny. But she said in March that she still intended to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in early 2025.
If Feinstein steps down early, the governor will appoint his successor. If Newsom is replaced by a Republican, that governor can appoint a Republican to fill the vacant Senate seat.
This could increase the Democratic majority in the Senate, where the two parties are divided 50-50 and the vice president produces decisive votes. Without this slim advantage, Democrats’ hopes of passing key elements of Biden’s already ambitious agenda would likely be out of reach.
Republicans are eager to secure the first GOP seat in the U.S. Senate since California since John Seymour in the early 1990s.
“They’re afraid I’ll replace him with a Republican, which I sure will and it’s an earthquake in Washington, DC,” GOP leader Elder reportedly said on another Tory talk show. . .