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California Gubernatorial Recall Election Slated for September

July 2, 2021 by Reece Nations
In this Jan. 8, 2021 photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis announced Thursday that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election will be conducted on Sept. 14.

California residents will head to the polls to vote either to retain or remove Newsom from office after enough petitioners signed on in support of the recall attempt ahead of the March 17 filing deadline. Although faced with only the second ever gubernatorial recall election in state history, TWN previously reported that survey data gathered by the Public Policy Institute of California indicated the recall attempt will likely fail. 

“Although the window of time from which I could select a date was narrow, I believe we have chosen a fair and reasonable date for this election to take place,” Kounalakis said in a written statement. “It has always been my intention to choose an election date that gives election officials and the public ample time to ensure a smooth election with broad participation. Conducting this election on Sept. 14 fulfills my statutory requirements, and provides the time needed for officials to prepare and inform voters.”

Should more than 50% of voters choose to recall Newsom, whichever candidate receives the most votes to replace him will be elected the next California governor. In May, survey data indicated only 40% of likely voters would vote to remove Newsom and 57% would vote to retain him.

The Republican candidates challenging Newsom on the ballot are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former gubernatorial candidate John Cox, former United States Rep. Doug Ose and former Olympic athlete and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner.

“The people have spoken and this recall is happening,” Faulconer said in a written statement. “This movement is powered by Californians from every community – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. I am ready to lead this recall and begin the California comeback to clean up our streets, cut taxes on the middle class, and reopen our schools. Change is coming for California and retirement is coming for Gavin Newsom.”

Previously, the only successful gubernatorial recall in the state’s history occurred in 2003 when California residents voted to remove then-Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, TWN previously reported.

Although state law had required a Legislative committee to consider a recall election’s cost, Democratic lawmakers evaded the provision and circumvented the review by passing a bill that permits them to do so if they have already allocated funds for counties. Estimates by the California Department of Finance have placed the expected election costs at roughly $276 million.

“Gavin Newsom’s days of hurting Californians will soon be over,” Jenner said in a written statement. “In just 75 days, we will elect a governor who will put the people of California first instead of special interest groups and Sacramento lobbyists. As I said when I first announced my campaign, Californians want and deserve better from their governor. We have seen what a Gavin-led California looks like – businesses leaving, jobs evaporating, homelessness rising, taxes increasing, and out-of-control violence.”

Newsom has downplayed the recall’s threat, characterizing it in a March email to constituents as being orchestrated by “pro-Trump forces who want to overturn the last election.”

Despite frequent criticism from detractors, Newsom’s job approval rating stands at 54% among all likely voters according to data from the Public Policy Institute of California. Further, 64% of adults and 61% of likely voters, respectively, approved of Newsom’s handling of the pandemic.

“Fires are starting to rage, we’re still not sure schools will open on time, homelessness is out of control, and taxes are way too high,” Cox said in a written statement. “We have shortages of electricity and water; crime is out of control, and the cost of housing and living, in general, is soaring. Gavin Newsom will be recalled on September 14. The insiders and allies have done their best to manipulate the election date for the pretty boy governor, but it doesn’t matter. The people are tired of corruption and politicians who won’t deliver. California needs big, beastly change.” 

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