Recall effort against California governor enters final six weeks to gather signatures

Supporters of a recall campaign against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) have until March 17 to collect 1,495,709 valid signatures to trigger a recall election. On February 1, 2021, recall organizers said they had collected about 1.3 million signatures.

Recall supporters say Newsom mishandled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, did not do enough to address the state’s homelessness rate, and supported sanctuary city policies and water rationing. In June 2020, Newsom said that the recall will cost state taxpayers $81 million and is being led by supporters of President Donald Trump (R).

After the March 17 submission deadline, counties will have until April 29 to verify signatures. If enough signatures are verified, 30-day period will begin in which signees may remove their names from the petition. After the withdrawal window, the legislative budget committee has 30 days to review and comment on the estimated cost of the election. After that review, the lieutenant governor would be required to call a recall election within 60 to 80 days.

On February 1, 2021, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) announced his intent to run for governor in either the 2022 general election or the recall election should it make the ballot. Faulconer served as mayor from March 2014 to December 2020.

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only recall campaign to succeed was in 2003 when former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled by voters. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Gray’s replacement.