Supporters of the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had until February 13 to submit 1,495,709 signatures to force a recall election. The recall, which was submitted by Erin Cruz (R), was approved for circulation by Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on September 6, 2019. As of January 29, 2020, there were 197,150 signatures submitted, and 134,357 had been deemed valid by the secretary of state.
The recall petition alleges that Newsom mismanaged the state and caused poor schools, deteriorating infrastructure, high costs for gas and utilities, and increased homelessness and debt. The recall petition also criticized Newsom’s support of policies such as Medicare for All and laws that aid immigrants living in the country illegally.
A second recall petition was submitted by James Veltmeyer and approved for circulation against Gov. Newsom on September 27, 2019. Veltmeyer ended the recall on January 6, 2020. He said on his recall website that he was ending the effort because it was not going to be successful and because the effort did not have the money to collect signatures.
In response to the recall efforts, Newsom filed a statement with the secretary of state in August 2019. In his statement, Newsom said that the “…recall effort will cost California taxpayers $81 million dollars! It is being pushed by political extremists supporting President Trump’s hateful attacks on California.”
California became a Democratic trifecta in 2011. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the California state House by a 61-18 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 29-10 margin with one vacancy. Newsom succeeded Jerry Brown (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 61.9% of the vote.
Three gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 22 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.
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