Gavin Newsom Targeted By 2nd Recall Effort

Travis Gillmore
By Travis Gillmore
February 27, 2024California
California’s Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a second recall. This time the group believes they have a better chance of winning as the state is facing a historic deficit and Newsom’s ratings plummet to an all-time low.

After nearly 5 million Californians voted to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021, organizers of the effort are again seeking to remove him from office.

The governor was served with recall documents Feb. 26, and signature gathering is underway, according to Anne Dunsmore with Rescue California, the group that launched the recall campaign.

Mr. Newsom criticized the effort on social media platform X.

“Trump Republicans are launching another wasteful recall campaign to distract us from the existential fight for democracy and reproductive freedom,” the governor wrote. “We will defeat them.”

About 1.5 million signatures are needed to ensure that enough will qualify for the ballot, said organizers—a sharp drop from the more than 2 million needed in 2021 to satisfy the threshold of 12 percent of the previous gubernatorial election.

Such will be much easier to accomplish with more than 400 volunteers and organizers currently helping to lead the effort, according to the group.

“It’s a vastly different thing, and our army is already built up,” Ms. Dunsmore told The Epoch Times. “We know how to be much more efficient this time.”

One reason given for the recall effort is the state’s looming budget deficit of up to $73 billion, according to last week’s projection by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, though the governor estimates the number is closer to $38 billion.

“All of us have compassion … but Gavin, we don’t have the money,” Ms. Dunsmore said. “You need to address these problems here, because they might be irreversible.”

Organizers point to the approximately 700,000 illegal immigrants newly eligible for free health care—which could cost taxpayers about $3 billion annually, according to recent estimates by state and federal lawmakers. Such could come at a cost to Californians, veterans, students, the homeless, and those living with disabilities, the group contends.

After Mr. Newsom’s recent appearances across the nation to support President Joe Biden’s campaign, some are questioning the governor’s perceived lack of focus on issues affecting the state. Critics argue that he is potentially running a shadow campaign to replace Mr. Biden if the 81-year-old president’s health disrupts his reelection efforts.

“We don’t have the income base to fund his campaign for president,” Ms. Dunsmore said. “His political ambitions are going to be his undoing, and unfortunately, it’s already been the undoing of the greatest state in the nation.”

Mr. Newsom has steadfastly denied that he could be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, though some fellow Democrats suggest he is aiming for the White House.

“Let me say something that might be uncomfortable,” U.S. Sen. John Fetterman from Pennsylvania said at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Iowa late last year. “There are two additional Democrats … running for president right now.”

U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips from Minnesota is the only Democrat to officially announce his candidacy, taking on the incumbent president.

“They’re both running for president, but only one had the guts to announce it,” Mr. Fetterman said.

With two more years and three budgets to go in the governor’s final term in office, the recall group said a change in leadership is needed sooner to address growing statewide concerns.

A record number of overdose deaths and skyrocketing crime in some areas are pushing voters to demand change, according to the group.

Citing retail theft statistics and a prevalence of smash-and-grab robberies as evidence that existing policies are failing to achieve public safety goals, recall organizers argue that communities are paying the price for closed prisons and criminal justice reform efforts that have “weakened our public safety laws.”

The recall proponents also questioned the governor’s decisions during the coronavirus pandemic.

They highlighted a dinner gathering at the world-renowned French Laundry in Yountville, California, where Mr. Newsom met a group of lobbyists—all of them maskless—in November 2020 while Californians were ordered to shelter in place and advised not to visit family for holiday gatherings and many businesses were closed or operating under limited conditions.

Expecting the governor to launch a heavy spending campaign to counter the recall—$95 million in 2021—the recall organizers advised the public to focus on specific issues instead of partisan politics.

“Beware of the flood of information and the tagging of political people instead of focusing on the issues,” Ms. Dunsmore said. “It’s a diversionary tactic.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Feb. 26 said the recall efforts against Gov. Gavin Newsom do “nothing more than waste taxpayer dollars and valuable time.”

“Gov. Newsom has delivered countless times for Los Angeles over just the past year helping us address the homelessness crisis, rebuild after the 10 freeway fire and recover from recent storms,” Ms. Bass said in a statement posted on X.

In 2021, nearly 62 percent of the 13 million voters who cast their ballots chose not to recall Mr. Newsom, who dismissed the effort as a conservative agenda to remove him from office for purely political purposes.

Of the candidates proposed to replace the governor if the majority approved a recall, Republican Larry Elder led the field with about 49 percent of support, with Democrat Kevin Paffrath placing second receiving nearly 10 percent of votes.

It is unclear who might run to replace the governor if the current effort is successfully placed on a future ballot.

The timing of the potential recall election is also uncertain, according to Ms. Dunsmore. Depending on the pace of signature collection, the issue could be put to voters in November during the presidential election if the recall initiative is certified by the Secretary of State by the May deadline.

A spokesperson for Gov. Newsom did not respond to requests for comment on deadline.

From The Epoch Times

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