California Gov. Newsom Criticizes ‘Political Power Grabs’ Amid Recall Efforts

March 10, 2021 Updated: March 10, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom took aim at his critics on Tuesday during his state of the state address as a campaign to oust the state’s top official has accumulated enough signatures to trigger a special election later this year.

“The state of our state remains determined. I remain determined! We won’t change course just because of a few nay-sayers and dooms-dayers,” Newsom, a Democrat, said during his address.

“So to the California critics who are promoting partisan power grabs and outdated prejudices and rejecting everything that makes California great, we say this: we will not be distracted from getting shots in arms and our economy booming again.”

Organizers of a campaign to recall Newsom said on Sunday that they’ve gathered 1.95 million signatures to trigger the recall procedure in the Golden State. The procedure allows citizens to recall and replace public officials before their term ends by collecting signatures in a petition. The petition requires a specific number of signatures over a specified period of time. If a valid number of signatures is collected, then a recall election can be held. Different states have different rules for this procedure.

In California, petitioners must present 1,495,709 verified signatures to state officials by March 17, according to the organizers. If they do, voters will be asked later this year whether Newsom should be removed from office. They’ll also be asked who should replace the governor if a majority of respondents say he should be removed.

Proponents of the grassroots movement said that they were motivated to campaign against Newsom for a number of reasons including the governor’s handling of the ongoing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, the state lockdowns, and his economic policies.

“The governor has done such a poor job on so many different fronts that we need the people of California to have an opportunity to come up with something better,” Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner previously told The Epoch Times.

“It’s not just the COVID response, which has been erratic and has been absolutely devastating to the mental, the physical, and the emotional health of so many people in California. We have the highest poverty rate in the nation. We have almost, if not the highest, unemployment rate in the nation. We are seeing people leave this state in droves. And it’s a result of very bad policies coming out of Sacramento, that all have Gavin Newsom’s thumbprint all over them,” he added.

Epoch Times Photo
Volunteers sort recall mail to oust California Governor Gavin Newsom at Capital Campaigns Incorporated in Newport Beach, Calif., on Jan 4, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The last time California unseated a governor through a recall effort was in 2003, when they recalled Democrat Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, and chose Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him.

During his address, Newsom acknowledged the mistakes he made during the pandemic.

“Look, we’ve made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. But we own them, learn from them, and never stop trying,” he said.

“After all, that’s the California spirit. We are bent but not broken. Bloodied but unbowed. Resolved to make it to brighter days ahead—to not let the pain of last year deter the hopefulness of tomorrow.”

Under Article II of the California Constitution, Californian voters can recall and remove officials and justices of the State Supreme Court from office. After the petitioners submit the required number of signatures, state officials would need to determine whether the signatures are valid and whether the requisite number of valid signatures are met. The secretary of state would then need to notify the Department of Finance about the results, so that the department can estimate the cost of a recall election.

Upon receiving certification of the recall petition, the governor must make public a notice for holding a recall election. The election must be conducted within between 60 to 80 days from the date of certification of the signatures. Or, officials can schedule it to align with a regularly scheduled election, provided it’s within 180 days.

Drew Van Voohris and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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