Newsom recall update: 37 filed candidates, a new poll, and a $3 million donation

The recall campaign against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is currently in the signature removal phase, when voters can request to have their signatures removed from the recall petitions through June 8. At that point, if at least 1,495,709 signatures remain, the recall election will be certified and proceed to a budgeting and scheduling phase. If that happens, political analysts expect the recall to take place in October or November 2021.

So far, 37 candidates have officially filed with the California Secretary of State to run in a recall election. Among those candidates are eight Democrats, 17 Republicans, two Green Party candidates, and a Libertarian Party candidate. The remaining candidates filed with no party preference. Ballotpedia has tracked an additional 13 candidates who have declared their intent to run in the recall election but have not yet officially filed. In the 2003 recall election, 135 candidates ran.

On May 25, the Public Policy Institute of California published a poll finding that 57% of respondents opposed a recall, 40% supported a recall, and 3% were undecided. These numbers were about the same as a March poll by the same group, which found 56% opposed, 40% supported, and 5% undecided. Both polls surveyed 1,700 people and had a margin of error of around 3%.

On May 21, multiple media outlets reported a $3 million donation from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to Stop The Republican Recall, a committee registered in opposition to the recall effort. According to The Hill, Hastings donated $7 million in 2018 to the gubernatorial campaign of Antonio Villaraigosa, who lost in the primary. Hastings has also previously donated to ballot measure campaigns in the state—Ballotpedia has tracked donations to at least eight propositions since 2009.

Newsom was elected governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then Gov. Gray Davis (D). and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) as Davis’ replacement.