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California Governor Gavin Newsom Faces Recall Election

From Audio: Weekly Roundup: April 30th

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The NPR Politics Podcast
Duration: 05:06
This week, California's secretary of state confirmed that there are enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. Newsom was praised last spring for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, so how did the tides turn against him?
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This week, California's secretary of state confirmed that there are enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. Newsom was praised last spring for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, so how did the tides turn against him?
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on how recall elections work in the state of California. Yeah, I think about 20 states allow for recalls, but in California there is pretty much always an attempt to recall statewide officials. Um it's very rare that they actually get the signatures they need. So how many signatures do they need that? You need? About 1.5 million signatures for a statewide elected officials. So it's pretty big that the organizers behind this recall got that Nicole. This seems like a really notable change of political fortune because when I think of Gavin Newsom way over here on the other coast, he was sort of one of the governor's that was seen as getting great marks and handling the pandemic well and started this pandemic really strong and the tides just seem to have turned against him. Yeah. You know, I think the the tide really turned for him that one moment was when he went to this birthday party at this very fancy restaurant in napa wine country. Remember that with a big group of people with this. This is the same time when he was telling everyone else to stay home and avoid these kinds of gatherings. Yeah, at the same time that happened, the recall organizers had gone to a judge and asked for more time to gather signatures because of the pandemic and they got that. So those two things combined really spell bad news for Newsome. The signature drive exploded when that came out and they ended up gathering more than two million signatures. And we just found out this week that enough of those have been verified to put this before voters probably later this year. So new someone you know, by a big margin. In 2018 he had been, I think seen as a relatively popular governor. Is all of this unraveling, basically just attributable to his handling of the pandemic. Well, the recall organizers have a long list of reasons that they pushed this and that people signed it. Um it's very driven by newsome critics who yes hate his pandemic restrictions, but also hate his stance on immigrants and the fact that California has high taxes and it's expensive to live here in the housing market, the housing is very expensive. So while it really got going because of the pandemic, and especially because of that napa dinner, um there are a lot of reasons that people signed it. Yeah, and so I don't know, like, I don't know if unraveling is exactly the right word, obviously, it is absolutely terrible, not something you want to do, you do not want to have to defend yourself against a recall. Um having it qualified for the ballot is a very bad no good thing for Gavin Newsom, who is someone who has at many times had national political aspirations, but but he's actually above water in his approval ratings right now, um which is crazy like, so he's not he is not as deeply unpopular as you might think he would need to be to really be in trouble. Absolute. And I'll just point out that the signature threshold to get a recall of a governor on the ballot is lower than much other states. I think some states require 20 or 25 of Voters who voted in the most recent statewide election. It's only 12 here. So Big state. Yes, lots of voters. Um but it's not that hard in a state as large as California to find two million people who hate the governor at any given time for any given reason, I imagine. Yeah, exactly. So we know that they've collected the signatures and this will now go to a ballot. So the next steps here are we're in this kind of weird period where for the next about six weeks, anybody who signed a re competition gets the chance to withdraw their name if they want. After that, if there are still enough signatures, then this will for sure go to the ballot. Um but the state is going to spend the summer estimating how much that will cost. And so we're probably looking at an actual election date being set later around september and that election will probably take place in november. And then once it's on the ballot, is it like do you want to recall? Yes, No. Who do you want to be governor? Like how does that actual ballot work? That's exactly it. The first question is shall Gavin Newsom bebe recalled. The second question is if Gavin Newsom is recalled, who do you want to replace him? And that's where the very long list of candidates will be. In 2003. There were 135 people running to replace Gray Davis, the governor at that time. Right? I mean, I'm glad you brought up the last recall effort because tam I think you made a good point to that. We're going to draw a lot of parallels because in politics we always want to draw a parallel to the precedent. But but Gavin Newsom does not seem to be in his politically precarious position.
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