Republicans to launch longshot effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A group of Republicans involved in the failed 2021 recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that they plan another attempt to remove him from office, a longshot bid that would require more than 1.3 million valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Rescue California, which ran a campaign in support of the 2021 attempt to recall Newsom, is the main proponent of the new effort, said Anne Dunsmore, campaign director of Rescue California. Dunsmore said the group planned to deliver recall papers to Newsom’s office Monday, which was first reported by Politico.

She pointed to California’s massive budget deficit and what she described as Newsom’s focus on campaigning for Democrats in other states as reasons why voters should back the recall.

“It’s not a good time for him to check out,” Dunsmore said. “But if he’s going to check out, we’ll kick him out.”

Newsom has pegged the state budget deficit at $37.9 billion. The Legislative Analyst’s Office, which provides fiscal and policy advice to the state Legislature, released an updated estimate this month that suggests the shortfall is more than double that amount.

Newsom dismissed the latest recall attempt as an effort by Republicans to divert attention from their unpopular push to restrict abortion and support former President Donald Trump’s bid to return to the White House.

“Trump Republicans are launching another wasteful recall campaign to distract us from the existential fight for democracy and reproductive freedom,” Newsom said on the social media platform X. “We will defeat them.”

The governor has been raising money for Democrats in other states before the November election and actively campaigning for President Joe Biden’s reelection bid. On Sunday, he returned from Washington where he attended a meeting with other governors and the president and participated in national television interviews as a surrogate for the Biden campaign.

The new recall effort would be among more than a half dozen attempts to oust Newsom since he took office in January 2019. All but the 2021 recall campaign, which was spearheaded by retired Yolo County sheriff’s sergeant Orrin Heatlie, failed to qualify for the statewide ballot.

California election law requires recall petitioners to gather valid signatures from at least 12% of the total number of registered voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election in order to force a statewide election. They have 160 days to gather the signatures.

Backers of the prior recall effort took advantage of Newsom’s decision to attend a dinner at the French Laundry in Napa Valley on Nov. 6, 2020, as an example of hypocrisy from a governor who at that time of the COVID-19 pandemic had advised Californians to avoid indoor gatherings with other households.