Campaign to Recall California Governor Gains Momentum With Large Donations

January 3, 2021 Updated: January 3, 2021

The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is picking up steam in California following two significant six-figure contributions, the largest donations made to the effort so far.

The campaign received a $500,000 donation from Prov 3:9, a little-known Irvine-based consulting firm, and roughly $100,000 from billionaire Sequoia Capital partner Douglas Leone and his wife, Patricia, according to a recent contribution report.

According to the report—filed by political action committee Rescue California on Dec. 29—the effort to recall the governor received $1,139,082 in contributions between Dec. 17 and Dec. 24.

Annie Hyde, Rescue California’s campaign manager and finance director, told The Epoch Times that the recall effort began with the state’s lockdown mandates, but really started to gain momentum after the governor was widely criticized for dining as part of a group at the high-end indoor “French Laundry” restaurant in November after telling Californians to stay home.

“What started it was the random closures, and then the real capper and sort of the national attention-getting element was the French Laundry,” Hyde said. “You don’t want to see that kind of bad judgment in an executive.”

The $500,000 contribution from Prov 3:9 was likely the firm’s first major political donation; the group doesn’t have a major filing with the secretary of state. According to Politico, the group filed paperwork with the state in 2018 listing attorney Gordon Schaller as its California agent, Thomas Liu as the manager, and an Irvine address shared by  the White Nelson Diehl Evans CPA firm, where Liu is listed as a partner.

Rescue California needs to gather nearly 1.5 million signatures on a petition to start the recall process, but is aiming for 2 million to leave room for error. On Nov. 6, a judge granted the committee an extension to continue collecting signatures until March 17, 2021.

Hyde said the committee has so far collected approximately 950,000 signatures, and expects to reach 1 million by Jan. 4.

“We just sent out a million and a half letters to registered Republicans, and we’ve started getting our returns,” Hyde said. “I expect that we will get to 2 million signatures sooner rather than later, and we are pretty excited about that.”

Rachel Potucek, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Orange County, told The Epoch Times in an earlier email: “It is highly unlikely that a recall would ultimately succeed. This is clearly a political stunt.”

Regarding the lockdowns, she said: “To protect our businesses, we must stop COVID-19. To stop COVID-19, we must listen to health experts.”

Hyde said she expected to receive up to 25,000 new signatures this week alone, adding that contributing factors include Newsom’s inconsistency combined with “the sort of punitive measures he’s randomly taken against different counties, particularly Orange County.”

She encouraged those who want to get involved to sign the recall petition, or visit Rescue California’s website to download a petition and circulate it to others.

“There’s a lot to be done,” she said.

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis