The Daily Brew: An update on recall efforts against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)

Welcome to the Friday, Feb. 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Organizers of recall effort against California governor announce they’ve collected 1.5 million signatures
  2. Iowa, Montana lift statewide mask requirements
  3. #Friday trivia: How many 2022 Senate seats were decided by five percentage points or fewer in their last election?

Organizers of recall effort against California governor announce they’ve collected 1.5 million signatures

Organizers of a recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) reported on Feb. 10 that they had collected more than 1.5 million signatures. Supporters have until March 17 to collect 1,495,709 valid signatures to trigger a recall election. The next official monthly reporting deadline is next Tuesday—Feb. 16.

The previous monthly reporting period ended Jan. 6, and organizers submitted 723,886 signatures. The secretary of state processed 485,650 of those and deemed 75,563—or 15.6%—invalid.

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. This campaign to recall Newsom began on June 10, 2020. Five other recall efforts against him have failed to make the ballot since 2019. 

If this recall reaches the ballot, here is how the process works. Voters would be presented with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled as governor. If a majority votes in favor of the recall, then Newsom is removed from office. The second question would ask voters to elect a new governor if Newsom is recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election and become governor.

Nineteen states have provisions for recalling state-level officers, including the governor.

Since 1911, there have been 55 recall attempts against an incumbent California governor. The only other gubernatorial recall election in the state’s history was in 2003 when Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected governor. Schwarzenegger received 48.6% of the vote in a field that included more than 100 candidates.

Since 1921, four gubernatorial recall efforts have qualified for the ballot: 

  • Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) won a recall election in 2012 and remained in office,
  • Gov. Davis (D) was recalled in 2002 in California,
  • Gov. Fife Symington’s (R-Ariz.) recall election in 1997 was canceled after he resigned following his impeachment, and
  • Gov. Lynn Frazier (R/Nonpartisan League) was recalled in 1921 in North Dakota. 

Read on

Iowa, Montana lift statewide mask requirements 

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced he is lifting the state’s face-covering requirement on Feb. 12. Former Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued the face-covering requirement on July 15, 2020. Montana is the fourth state to allow a mask requirement to expire over the past few months. 

  • Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) lifted Iowa’s mask order on Feb. 7. Reynolds first issued the face-covering requirement on Nov. 17.
  • Gov. Doug Burgum (R) lifted North Dakota’s order on Jan. 28.
  • Gov. Tate Reeves (R) lifted Mississippi’s order on Sept. 30, 2020.

On Feb. 4, the Wisconsin state Assembly voted 52-42 on a resolution to end the statewide mask mandate and coronavirus public health emergency. On Jan. 26, the state Senate voted 18-13 to overturn Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) coronavirus emergency order. In response, Evers issued two new orders re-establishing the public health emergency and mask mandate. Republican legislative leaders are challenging Evers’ mandate in the state supreme court. 

On Feb. 5, the Pennsylvania State House voted 116-86 to approve a ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment that would end emergency disaster declarations after 21 days unless the General Assembly approved extensions. If voters approve the amendment on May 18, the legislature could end the state’s coronavirus emergency order, including the mask requirement.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide mask requirements in response to the coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey was the first state to implement a statewide mask order on April 10, 2020. Four states—Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, and North Dakota—have allowed those statewide orders to expire.

The map below shows the 35 states with statewide mask orders. All 23 states with Democratic governors have such orders in effect, as do 12 of 27 states with Republican governors.

If you want to learn more about statewide mask orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here to view the text of each state’s mask order, the dates they were in effect, and links to arguments in favor and against face-covering requirements. And to stay informed, subscribe to our free newsletter—Documenting America’s Path to Recovery—and receive the latest info in your inbox each day.

Read on 

#Friday trivia: How many 2022 Senate seats were decided by five percentage points or fewer in their last election?

Thursday’s Brew took an early look at 2022’s U.S. Senate elections.  

Of the 34 seats up for election next year, Republicans currently hold 20 and Democrats hold 14. Four Republicans—Alabama’s Richard Shelby, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Ohio’s Rob Portman, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey—have announced they will not run for re-election.

In the most recent election for these specific seats, how many were decided by a margin of five percentage points or fewer?

  1. 3
  2. 5
  3. 6
  4. 7



About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.