California governor Gavin Newsom is preparing to campaign hard to retain office in a potential special election, as organizers prepare to submit a recall petition.
Newsom acknowledged on Tuesday that organizers have likely gathered enough signatures from California voters in order to initiate a special election.
“Am I worried about it? Of course I’m worried about it,” Newsom said in an appearance on The View.
The recall comes amid increasing frustration among some California residents over Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and attendant business and school closures.
“I feel that the recall effort has become less of a partisan issue — say Republican, Democrat, etc. — and it’s been an educational issue,” Clarissa Falen, a San Francisco Bay Area native, told National Review in February. Another parent, Solana Beach resident Jason Barry, commented that “people who have spent their lives here have such a bad taste in their mouth for what they’ve had to endure at the hand of the governor.”
Newsom was also pilloried in November after he was photographed having dinner at an upscale Napa Valley restaurant, in apparent violation of coronavirus mitigation guidelines.
However, Newsom allies are getting ready to fight the effort, portraying it as a “Republican Recall” backed mostly by supporters of former President Trump.
“We’re gonna take this extremely seriously … we’re gonna get ready — and fight like hell,” Newsom strategist Sean Clegg told Politico on Wednesday. “This is a Republican recall—with a capital ‘R’—and we’re going to make it that.”
Newsom himself blamed the recall effort on “members of the Three Percenters, the right-wing militia group, the Proud Boys, support of the insurrection, are folks that quite literally, enthusiastically, support QAnon conspiracies,” in his Tuesday interview.
Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager of the recall effort, said that one-third of the California residents who signed the recall petition are independents or Democrats.
“It’s not just the French Laundry,” Dunsmore told Politico. “It’s the gas taxes, the rolling blackouts, the wildfires…everybody’s gotten a major lesson in ‘Government Screws You 101.’”
A poll by Nexstar Media Group and Emerson College found that if the recall petition succeeds in forcing a special election, 38 percent of respondents supported the recall while 42 percent backed keeping Newsom in office.
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