California’s Secretary of State’s Office Completes Signatures for Gavin Newsom Removal Election

Organizers seeking to remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California from office have collected enough signatures to demand a recall election, the California secretary of state’s office announced Monday. 

Participants who signed the petition now have 30-business-days to withdraw their names from the recall petition. 

After the 30-day period, county election officials will then be given 10 business days to report how many names have been withdrawn.  If the petition retains enough signatures, a recall election would begin after a lengthy budgetary review and months-long scheduling process.  

The demand for a recall began last June. A court extended the deadline for collecting signatures due to COVID-19. 

The group organizing the petition, Recall Gavin 2020, published a long list of grievances against the governor on its website. 

Newsom and other Democrats have accused the organizers of being led by right-wing extreme its and pro-Trump Republicans. 

An Emerson College poll in mid-March showed that a narrow margin of California voters would vote to keep Newsom in office at 42% of people polled, verses the 38% that said they would vote to remove him. 14% of voters remained undecided, and six percent answered that they would not be voting in the recall election. 

If the recall election is held, voters would decide whether Newsom should be removed from office and who should replace him, as Newsom is not allowed to appear on the list of replacement candidates. 

The last time a California petition succeeding in removing a governor through a recall election was in 2003, when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was removed and replaced by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

A Republican has not won a statewide election in California since 2006, but the math of a recall election may bode well for the Republican Party in California.

Proponents of the recall only have to get 12% of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election to force a ballot. Because there may be a large number of replacement candidates entering the race — and because none of them are expected to be strong Democrats — if Newsom is removed, a Republican could win office with much fewer votes than Newsom received in 2018. 

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