Is Recalling Governor Newsom a Possibility, or Just Wishful Thinking by Opponents?

December 3, 2019 Updated: December 3, 2019

Two petitions to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom that are collecting signatures have been gaining traction in recent weeks.

On Dec. 2, the chair of the California Republican Party, Jessica Patterson, confirmed the party’s board of directors’ had voted to endorse the petitions in a fundraising email, according to the Sacramento Bee.

However, Patterson told the newspaper the party has not made plans to send funds to either of the recall organizations. The Libertarian Party of California also had announced its support in October for the recall effort, which is considered to have a slim chance of succeeding, despite the momentum.

“There’s a huge amount of support for it,” Patterson told the Bee. “Don’t get me wrong. I do know that this is an uphill battle, but it gives us an opportunity to connect with voters right now. People are fired up. People are angry about the arrogance and overreach of California Democrats. Every single chance that the governor has the opportunity to do the right thing, he chooses not to.”

Gov. Newsom has only been in office for less than a year and won 62 percent of the popular vote in last year’s election. However, the movement is placing added pressure on the governor as he faces a number of challenges, including devastating wildfires, PG&E blackouts, and backlash from gig workers and companies over a new law that would limit freelancing work.

The recall efforts were initiated by two former congressional candidates: Erin Cruz, an author and political commentator from Palm Springs, and James Veltmeyer, a San Diego-based physician and immigrant from Ecuador who has advocated for healthcare reform.

Both are registered political committees and have been approved by Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Supporters will need to collect nearly 1.5 million signatures for each campaign to force a recall election.

Cruz’s recall effort, which was approved by the state on Sept. 6, has until Feb. 13, 2020 to obtain the necessary signatures required to trigger a recall election. Dr. Veltmeyer’s recall effort, which was filed on Sept. 27 has until March 5.

Veltmeyer’s organization, Californians to Recall Gavin Newsom, describes themselves as a “coalition of voters who have joined together to qualify a recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom.”

The recall campaign cites five main reasons for their desire to remove Governor Newsom from office. They say he’s neglected the state’s homelessness crisis, worsened community safety by continuing sanctuary state policies, removed the state’s death penalty via executive order, provided Medicaid for illegal aliens aged 25 and younger, and signed laws that would raise taxes in the state.

“[Jerry] Brown was more cautious in his liberalism. He sometimes even had a hint of fiscal prudence,” Californians to Recall Gavin Newsom spokesperson Andrew Russo told The Epoch Times.

“Gavin Newsom is definitely to Brown’s left and far more aligned with the radical AOC wing of the Democrat Party. For example, Brown rejected the idea of free health care for illegal immigrants and did not sign fifteen new anti-gun laws. He did not try to tamper with Proposition 13.”

The effort to collect signatures has been active since the beginning of October and has received at least tens of thousands of signatures, according to Russo.

According to an interview with One America News Network, Cruz’s recall campaign has had more success, with 6,000 signatures gathered in a single recent weekend. The Epoch Times attempted to speak with Cruz, but a request for comment was not returned.

The recall effort will need to collect 1,495,709 valid signatures, which is equivalent to 12 percent of the 12,464,235 votes cast in last year’s gubernatorial race, making the recall effort difficult for any group hoping to topple a sitting governor.

Since the State of California put in place recall elections in 1911, there have been 51 attempts to recall sitting governors. Of that, only one, the recall of Democratic Governor Gray Davis in 2003, was successful. That recall propelled Arnold Schwarzenegger to the governorship.

With the state’s voter demographics shifting heavily towards the Democratic Party, efforts to remove the governor via a recall will not be an easy task for his opponents. On top of the governor easily winning his election to office in last year’s elections, seven out of the then 14 Republican-held house seats flipped, while Republicans lost three seats in the State Senate and five in the State Assembly, giving the Democratic Party an electoral supermajority in the state legislature.

A recent poll conducted by PPIC showed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s approval rating at 44 percent, while his disapproval rating sat at 32 percent. The poll also showed 43 percent of Californians approved of the California state legislature’s performance, while 40 percent disapproved.

Other polls since the governor took office show varying degrees of support and disapproval. A Quinnipiac Poll taken between July 10 and 15 showed 38 percent disapproval, with approval ratings at 39 percent, while a May PPIC poll showed 45 percent approval and 35 percent disapproval.

The governor’s office has not made an official announcement about the efforts to remove him, and Newsom brushed off the recall attempts when asked by reporters.

“Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to pay much attention to it,” Newsom told KRCA 3 in October.

The Epoch Times reached out to his office for comment on the matter, but did not immediately hear back.

Gov. Newsom, who is known for his staunch opposition to President Trump, has sparred with the president over a number of issues, including climate change and environmental regulations, as well as funding for the state’s high-speed rail projects.