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Breaking down the Gavin Newsom recall

Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall election but it won’t be a straightforward process for Californians.

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, is being recalled. The petition for his recall began in February 2020 before the pandemic was affecting California heavily. 

Recall elections in California are confusing but we are going to break down the facts. 

The grievance listed on the petition is as follows: 

“Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens. People in this state suffer the highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates, and the lowest quality of life as a result. He has imposed sanctuary state status and fails to enforce immigration laws. He unilaterally over-ruled the will of the people regarding the death penalty. He seeks to impose additional burdens on our state by the following; removing the protections of Proposition 13, rationing our water use, increasing taxes and restricting parental rights.”

A brunt of California’s  heavy criticism of Newsom came after the pandemic but the seed was planted before his handling of the COVID-19 disaster took a front seat.

Critics of Newsom stated he wasn’t strict enough in his restrictions and others said he was too slow to reopen businesses after the curve slowed in spring 2020. However, recalling him became a stronger possibility when Newsom attended a swanky birthday party at the Michelin-starred French Laundry. 

He disobeyed his own restrictions of gathering with people outside his household. The dinner received a lot of attention on social media and even was trending on Twitter.

Almost 1.5 million verified signatures are required for a recall election and over 1.6 million Californians have signed this particular one. But , the recall still is not official. 

Counties are verifying and counting the signatures, following which Californians can choose  to withdraw their signatures until June 8. County election officials will have until June 22 to report the withdrawn signatures to the state. 

If there are still enough signatures afterwards, there will be a 30-day window to settle a budget followed by  another 30-day period to review the budget. 

An election date would be set only once all these steps are complete. 

The Public Policy Institute of California’s March polling showed 56% of voters opposed a recall of Gov. Newsom and 40% approved of a recall. The rest remained undecided. 

Newsom’s approval rating is slowly ascending with the vaccine rollout and as COVID-19 restrictions ease. 

One major downside of recall elections is the price. The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials predict the recall to cost $400 million, which is roughly $18 per Californian.

Governor Newsom is the second governor in the history of the state and fifth in U.S. history to face a recall election. 

Most likely, the date will land in the fall and the election will allow California voters to vote in person or by mail. 

The first part of the ballot will ask if you approve of a recall and the second will ask you to pick a replacement. 

There is already a running list of contenders including Kevin Faulconer, John Cox and Caitlyn Jenner. 

Faulconer is the former Mayor of San Diego and identifies as Republican but falls more moderate in his decision making. John Cox is a businessman who ran against Newsom in the 2018 gubernatorial election. 

Caitlyn Jenner is a former Olympic athlete and transgender celebrity activist. She is a longtime Republican and is putting herself out to be a candidate who will be a “compassionate disruptor.” 

Jenner will not be the first celebrity to run in a recall campaign in California. In 2003, Gov. Gray Davis faced a recall election and inevitably lost to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are clear comparisons in the two elections, but Republicans are no longer the second biggest political party in California. Additionally, Davis’s approval rating at the time of his recall was lower than 30% and Newsom still holds more than 50% support. 

 

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Sophia Ungaro
Sophia Rose Ungaro is Culturas resident writing intern. Ungaro hails from San Pedro, California. Growing up with a Navajo/Meztizo mother and a Sicilian father has given Ungaro a unique perspective on the world. In 2021 Ungaro will graduate from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Journalism. Her beats are race, pop culture, and entertainment.
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