Will Gavin Get the Gong?

February 22, 2021


Nancy Pelosi’s nephew, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom has survived two previous recall attempts. Recall proponents are hopeful that the 3rd time is a charm and believe that Newsom is the 2nd worst governor in America, with New York’s governor placing first. 

California is one of 19 states that allow voters to remove state officials before the end of their term. In order to achieve removal, the first step is to put a recall on the ballot. This requires signatures from 12% of the voters from at least 5 counties. The magic number this year in the Newsom Recall is 1,495,709.

Sargent Orrin Heatlie, a retired County Sheriff Officer from Yolo, California, began organizing to oust Newsom in 2020. Randy Economy, Senior Advisor to the Recall, reports they currently have more than 1,300,000 signatures, and seek 2,000,000 as a margin against invalid signatures. Validity is determined by the California Secretary of State. March 17 is the deadline for signatures.

The official recall petition was filed with the Secretary of State by Sargent Heatlie and 124 others. Reasons for their displeasure include high taxes, rampant homelessness, lawlessness, lack of affordable housing, wildfires, rolling blackouts during the summer, and healthcare criticisms. Newsom’s sub-standard handling of the COVID crisis has been added to the list of complaints.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected through a recall campaign in 2003. This was a very different California with an already world-famous candidate who announced on the Jay Leno television show. There were 154 candidates on that recall ballot.

The demographic shift in California since 2003 favors Newsom. Democrats have 46% of registered voters; while Republicans and "Declined to State" have about 24% each. In spite of their advantage, Democrats are bracing a strong campaign to back Newsom. Unions have ramped up support. The National Union of Healthcare Workers maintains efforts to stop people from signing the petition. 

Newsom’s allies use strategies to tarnish the recall. Voicing claims that the recall was launched by Trump supporters, for political reasons, not due to Newsom’s inept leftist leadership. Newsom’s minions hope to turn Democrats and Independents away. They are needed to support the recall, if it is to be successful.

There are no campaign contribution limits in a recall election. Newsom will be able to draw on powerful labor unions, Silicon Valley billionaires, and leftist big donors.

The deadline for counties to verify signatures is April 29, 2021. If the 1,495,709 are verified, an election will be held later in the year. It could be in August, September, or October. The date is yet to be determined.

On the recall ballot there are two sections. The first section is Recall Gavin Newsom: “Yes” or “No.”  If the vote is “Yes,” who should replace him?

On the Democrat side in addition to Gavin Newsom – seen kicking the tires are State Senator Kevin de Leon, and Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who is best friends with Pete Buttigieg. Caitlyn Jenner just announced that she will not be a candidate.

On the Republican side former Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer, former Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, and former State Senator John Moorlach have each announced. Congressman Tom McMcClintock, who also ran in the 2003 recall election, has been getting support. 

There is a movement pushing for Larry Elder, the conservative nationally syndicated talk show host who was mentored by David Horowitz, to throw his hat into the ring. Unsubstantiated rumors fly that Ambassador Ric Grenell might consider running.

California Republicans have not won a single statewide office since 2006. Democrats in Sacramento have a super-majority in the Assembly and in the Senate. They do not need one Republican vote to pass any legislation. Voters that might be discouraged about the California political scene must remember that with a strong Republican Governor and a veto pen, things would change in Sacramento.   

As in the song Steve Allen wrote “This could be the start of something big!”

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Darlene Casella was before retirement an English teacher, a stockbroker, and president/owner of a small corporation.  She lives in La Quinta, California and can be reached at darlenecasella@msn.com