Loading...

California’s Governor Faces Recall In State Overwhelmed with Crises

August 18, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
California’s Governor Faces Recall In State Overwhelmed with Crises
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to members of the media at Long Beach Community College on February 19, 2019, in Long Beach, Calif. (Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two California voters are suing to block a recall vote against Gov. Gavin Newsom that they say violates the U.S. Constitution.

The planned Sept. 14 vote comes amid a backlash against some Democrats, such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he is forced from office amid sexual harassment allegations.

In Newsom’s case, a collision of disasters came together to create an administrative boondoggle for the governor.

COVID-19 briefly gave California the nation’s highest pandemic mortality rate. Drought contributed to some of the worst wildfires in the state’s history. Homelessness and illegal immigration soared while Democrats sought to raise taxes to deal with the problems.

Newsom’s critics said the challenges for his administration exposed his mismanagement, which helped them collect 2.1 million signatures supporting a recall that they submitted to the Secretary of State. At least 1.5 million were needed for an election.

If successful, it would be only the second time in California history a governor was recalled. The first was Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, which allowed Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger to take his place.

This time, the succession plan to a new governor is a primary issue in the recall and the lawsuit that it prompted in federal court.

“This process is violative of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment because it flies in the face of the federal legal principle of ‘one person, one vote,’ and gives to voters who vote to recall the governor two votes — one to remove him and one to select a successor,” says the lawsuit. “This is unconstitutional both on its face and as applied.”

Millions of mail-in ballots are being sent to California’s 22 million registered voters. They ask two questions:

Question 1: “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of governor?” 

Question 2: The second question asks who should replace Newsom among a list of 46 candidates.

If a majority of voters recall Newsom, the candidate who gets the most votes on the second question will replace him. As a result, the replacement could get elected by approval of only a small percentage of voters.

So far, the leading Republican to replace Newsom has won no more than one quarter of voter support in popular opinion polls, far less than the 62% majority who voted the beleaguered Democrat into office in 2018.

The two voters who sued, Rex Julian Beaber and A.W. Clark said choosing a successor who might win with a small percentage of votes is the same as “debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote” that is forbidden under constitutional law.

“The right to vote freely for the candidate of one’s choice is of the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government,” says the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The plaintiffs want a court order to block the recall election or to add Newsom’s name to the replacement candidate list.

Proponents of a recall say the procedure for replacement is secondary to their desire to get rid of Newsom. They are led by a group called the California Patriot Coalition, which says on its website that it seeks “a strong and secure constitutional republic governed by honorable men and women of strong moral character.”

Popular support for their movement jumped after Newsom was seen in the upscale French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California, while his order that closed indoor dining because of the pandemic still was in effect.

Newsom has enough supporters to give him a reasonably good chance of surviving the recall election.

A statewide poll last month showed 47% of possible voters said they would vote to recall Newsom while 50% preferred to keep him as their governor.

In addition, President Biden tweeted a message Aug. 12 to residents of California that said Newsom “is leading California through unprecedented crises — he’s a key partner in fighting the pandemic and helping build our economy back better. To keep him on the job, registered voters should vote no on the recall election by 9/14 and keep California moving forward.”

In The News

Health

Voting

In The States

Trump Says He's Testifying Wednesday in NY Investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will be questioned under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will be questioned under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his dealings as a real estate mogul, he confirmed in a post on his Truth Social account. Trump’s testimony comes amid a flurry of legal activity surrounding... Read More

August 9, 2022
by Dan McCue
Comprehensive Databases of Local Wind, Solar Siting Ordinances Released

GOLDEN, Colo. — Project developers seeking to build renewable energy projects in the U.S. got a big leg up Tuesday... Read More

GOLDEN, Colo. — Project developers seeking to build renewable energy projects in the U.S. got a big leg up Tuesday with the release of two new databases of state and local wind and solar energy zoning ordinances by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. According to agency... Read More

August 9, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
School Requirements on COVID-19 Protections Vary Widely

WASHINGTON — The new school year starts within weeks with questions about what protections against COVID-19 will be required of students... Read More

WASHINGTON — The new school year starts within weeks with questions about what protections against COVID-19 will be required of students still unresolved in many states and counties. Most states have eliminated vaccine requirements but some cling to masks, either as a requirement or a recommendation. In... Read More

August 9, 2022
by Kate Michael
Policymakers Told Shared Misery Could Be Only Way to Relieve Gridlock

WASHINGTON — Thousands of policymakers and their aides returned to their jurisdictions from the National Conference of State Legislatures summit... Read More

WASHINGTON — Thousands of policymakers and their aides returned to their jurisdictions from the National Conference of State Legislatures summit in Denver earlier this month with the 1914 Christmas Truce top of mind. Because, if the tale about the miraculous incident that happened on Christmas Day... Read More

August 8, 2022
by Dan McCue
Local Constraints Causing Headwinds for Wind Energy Sector

WASHINGTON — No one ever said reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 was going to be easy, but a new... Read More

WASHINGTON — No one ever said reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 was going to be easy, but a new report from ClearPath suggests several constraints, including local opposition, regulatory delays and supply chain issues could dramatically limit the nation’s future ability to decarbonize. In a... Read More

August 8, 2022
by Dan McCue
Wildfires Have Destroyed Almost All of California’s Forest Carbon Offsets, Study Says

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Carbon released during an epic series of wildfire seasons in California has effectively wiped out most of... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Carbon released during an epic series of wildfire seasons in California has effectively wiped out most of the 100-year buffer that had been built into the state’s carbon trading system, a new study has found. According to the California Department of Forestry and... Read More

News From The Well