Attempt to recall California governor results in special recall

Maya Brisan, Staff Writer

California citizens tried to recall Governor Gavin Newsom this year, and it brought a lot of interest to the state. California is one of the few states that makes it incredibly easy to launch a recall against a governor. Almost every governor of California has been faced with a recall, but recalls rarely make it far. This year, however, the challenge against Newsom was stronger, causing an unusual recall.

Besides Mr. Newsom’s, only one other attempted recall of a California governor, Gray Davis, has ever reached an election. Mr. Davis lost in 2003 to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who went on to face his own blitz of attempted recalls,” The New York Times reported  in a recent article.

In order for recall elections to happen, a petition must be signed by at least 12 percent of the voter turnout for the last election for governor. The California secretary of state examines the petition and the signatures, making sure that there are enough signatures – 1,495,709 for this particular election. After that, the state lawmakers are required to determine the cost of the election, but this was skipped this round to save money

Both Democrats and Republicans wanted to challenge Newsom. Many Californians disagreed with Newsom’s views, and this caused about 80 candidates to show their intent to run against Newsom. Some Democrats, most Republicans and a couple of Independent voters signed the petition to hold a recall election against Newsom, many of them saying that they did not trust the governor anymore.

“Mr. Newsom, 53, the former mayor of San Francisco, has long been a favorite target of Republicans,” The New York Times reported. “As mayor, Mr. Newsom made headlines for sanctioning same-sex marriage licenses before they were legal… He championed ballot initiatives that legalized recreational marijuana and outlawed possession of the high-capacity magazines often used in mass shootings. One of his first acts as governor was to declare a moratorium on executions.”

At first, Newsom did not respond to the suggestion of a recall election, but in March 2021, he began actively campaigning against it. His campaign discouraged other Democrats from running against him, saying they needed to be unified if he was to remain governor. In the spring of 2021, Newsom tried to reopen schools and businesses in a move that people have claimed was an attempt to regain popularity. 

The Times reported that “the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a business organization, has come out against the recall, calling it an ‘irresponsible’ distraction from the state’s efforts to revive the economy.” 

Ultimately, Californians chose not to recall Newsom, allowing him the rest of his term, which ends in January 2023.