Want to quickly get up-to-speed on efforts to recall California’s governor? This illustrated guide to the Newsom recall will walk you through it.
Our story begins when Californians elected then-Democratic Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom as governor in 2018. His opponent, millionaire GOP businessman John Cox, lost by about 24 points. No sooner had Newsom taken office than talks of recall began.
This is the sixth attempt to recall Newsom; the previous five failed. Former Yolo County Sheriff’s Sgt. Orrin Heatlie, who complained Newsom was too lefty and pro-immigrant, succeeded on his second try to force the issue to the ballot.
Recall backers frame the recall as nonpartisan anger over government overreach — especially as Newsom ordered restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Recall opponents cast it as a ploy by right-wing extremists to take control of a blue state.
The recall attempt was delivered a scandal on a silver platter after Newsom — who told Californians to mask up and socially distance — was spotted Nov. 6, 2020, dining with lobbyists at the swanky French Laundry restaurant. That same day, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles handed recall proponents a victory by extending the signature deadline by four months due to the pandemic.
One month later the number of signatures collected had swelled by almost 450,000. The recall attempt became as real as the pandemic surge that followed.
Election officials in all 58 counties worked to verify recall campaign signatures — manually counting them all and comparing those signatures to others on file.
On April 26, 2021, state officials announced the sixth recall attempt against him was headed for the ballot, having submitted enough valid signatures — 1,626,042 — to make it.
Once election costs are determined and recall signatures are certified, the election will become official, opening up the race to interested candidates who collect 7,000 signatures or spend $4,000 to get on the ballot.
While the date of the recall election has yet to be determined — it will be sometime this fall — ballots will be mailed to every registered voter.
– John D’Agostino