Wednesday, April 28, 2021 : By Nathan Skates
Californians have made their displeasure with Gov. Gavin Newsom clear and have now secured more than the required number of signatures needed to launch a recall election of their governor for only the second time in California’s history.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has created a lot of enemies in California, primarily through his harsh COVID-19 restrictions. What angered many Californians was that in the midst of COVID lockdowns, Newsom was photographed sans mask attending a crowded birthday party at the French Laundry, a restaurant that features a white truffle and caviar dinner for $1,200 per person. After threatening everyday Californians who did not abide by the restrictions, the governor went out and publicly broke his own rules.
That hypocrisy was likely the tipping point for most Californians. Newsom has faced six previous recall efforts, but none got close to getting enough signatures until now. One of the most amazing things about the recall effort was that it was primarily organized by volunteers.
Orrin Heatlie, the retired county sheriff’s sergeant who started the effort, said, “The people of California have done what the politicians thought would be impossible. Our work is just beginning. Now the real campaign is about to commence.”
Signatories have 30 days to withdraw their signatures and barring a surprise wave of withdrawals, there will be a recall election in the fall. Voters will face two questions: 1) Should Newsom be recalled; and, if more than 50 percent of voters say yes, 2) Who should replace him?
It is hard to imagine that Newsom will lose the recall election considering the one-party nature of California. Newsom was elected in 2018 with more than 60 percent of the vote. The embattled governor has launched a campaign effort entitled “Stop the Republican Recall.” He said the recall effort “is a far-right partisan power grab and a waste of money.”
He added confidently, “I am not going to take this fight lying down. There is too much at stake, and I intend to win.”
Newsom has received support from some Democrat politicians. Vice President Kamala Harris said, “We are unambiguous in our support for Gov. Newsom.”
Since 1913, there have been 165 efforts to recall state officials in California, but only 9 secured enough signatures to force a new election. There were 54 attempts to recall a California governor, but only one secured enough signatures to force a special election. That happened in 2003, when Democrat Gov. Gray Davis was recalled. Republican challenger Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to oust Davis in the special election.
Davis’ former chief political advisor Garry South commented on Newsom’s situation, saying, “He’s got a plate of biblical plagues staring him in the face.” South was referring to obstacles such as COVID-19, the hindered economy, wildfires, and the crisis of homelessness. South believes, however, that Newsom still has better odds than Davis at winning the special election. “A recall (election) is never good, obviously,” South said, “[but] the Republicans are in a far weaker position.”
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has announced that he run as a Republican challenger against Newsom. He stated, “Californians from all walks of life are seizing this historic opportunity to demand change. As the only candidate who’s won tough elections and enacted real reform, I am ready to lead this movement.”
Recall organizers claim that 30 percent of the signers were Democrats or Independents.
Newsom’s comments show part of the reason he is being recalled. The only one grabbing power is Newsom, who enacted totalitarian COVID restrictions that cost Californians their quality of life, livelihoods, and religious liberty. There is no partisan power grab, as those leading this effort are citizens uniting around their desire to see a politician recalled. There is little that could be more American than exercising the will of the people. An elitist like Newsom just doesn’t get it.
While Californians were largely locked inside of their homes, unable even to attend outdoor church services, the California governor flouted all of the rules by sitting down to eat with a large group of friends at a restaurant that costs more than what Californians spend on food in a month. For perspective, even though Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are some of the most expensive places to live in America (thanks to progressive policies enacted by leaders like Newsom), the average amount spent on all food in a month in these cities is, respectively, $747.83, $845.50, and $884.41.
Newsom will probably remain in office until the new general election in 2022, but one thing is clear: Few politicians in America have drawn the ire of their constituents quite like Newsom has, and he has no one to blame but himself.