By Ural Garrett
LOS ANGELES — Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a recall election Sept. 14 with more than 40 candidates listed on the statewide ballot seeking to replace him if the recall is successful.
Newson’s handling of issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and the affordable housing crisis are among the reasons cited by recall proponents.
According to Corrin Rankin, Central Valley Regional vice chair for the California Republican Party, the special election was something many residents of the state representing various political parties wanted.
“The citizen’s movement was made up of Democrats, Republicans and independents,” Rankin said. “One of the women with the recall team, Andrea Hedstrom, was a lifelong Democrat and even named her son Gaven Newsom.
“She was one of the main speakers to be in this recall gathering signatures. Yes, [Republican Party officials] do help now but it wasn’t started by us.”
Nine of the 46 candidates on the ballot to replace Newsom are Democrats, including actor Patrick Kilpatrick, 20-year-old college student John R. Drake and cannabis policy advisor Jacqueline McGowan. None of the candidates has received any support from the Democratic Party establishment, which is focusing on efforts to keep Newsom in office.
Republicans make up a majority of recall candidates, including conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, John Cox, a businessman from Rancho Santa Fe who lost to Newsom in the 2018 gubernatorial election; and transgender athlete turned reality television star Caitlyn Jenner.
Despite the GOP lending financial support to the recall movement itself, Rankin said the party declined to endorse any specific candidate after a virtual meeting in August.
“We brought all of the delegates together and had a meeting to see if we should endorse someone and if so who would that be or should we not endorse anyone,” Rankin said. “Our delegates decided with 90% of the vote not to endorse anyone. We’re being supportive, but every candidate that has filed to run for governor as a Republican has done that on their own and are individually making their pitch to Californians.”
So far, Elder is the frontrunner, being favored by nearly 30% of voters, according to recent poll data from polling data website FiveThirtyEight.
Voters face two questions on the recall ballot, a yes or no vote on removing Newsom. The second question is who should replace Newsom if he is ousted. To stay in office, Newsom needs to receive no votes on more than 50% of the ballots.
If fewer than 50% of the voters oppose the recall, the candidate with the most votes becomes governor.
It is the first attempted recall of a California governor since Gray Davis was recalled by voters in 2003, who chose actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him.
Darryn Harris, chief of staff for U. S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, said the recall effort is the Republicans’ attempt to push California to the right politically.
“What is more clear about the recall is that Republicans know that there is no way that they can outright win the gubernatorial election,” Harris said. “In every cycle, Republicans use a recall in order to gain power here in California.”
Harris said Democrats aren’t taking the recall for granted, touting a recent Change Research survey that showed that with a survey of 780 voters, 42% of voters supported the recall effort while 57% favored keeping Newsom in office.
“We’re doing everything to ensure that a recall doesn’t go through,” Harris said.
That includes making a huge push toward Black and Latino voters as well. Among the people leading that push is newly elected Compton Mayor Emma Sharif who spent the last week engaging with Black and Latino residents in person and through email.
“I sit back and look at what’s happening in other states and I’m looking at how Republicans have targeted voter rights,” said Sharif, who also has been working closely with organizations like African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation. “Just because it happens in other states doesn’t mean it can’t happen in California. On the line is protection of gains including increased paid sick and family leave, earned income tax credit for families and expanding the forming of unions including the right for child care workers to unionize.”
“Republicans are seeking to repeal California clean air protections, roll back gun safety laws, strip immigrant workers of protections and take away access to health care for those who need it the most,” Harris said. “They also seek to undo progress that has been made for women. The supporters of the recall have refused to support legislation that protects women in the workplace and they strongly oppose a woman’s right to choose.”
Ballots for the recall have been mailed to every voter in the state. Ballots may be cast by mail anytime between now and election day Sept. 14.
All vote by mail ballots come with a postage paid envelope. If it is postmarked by Sept. 14, your ballot may be cast at no cost without a stamp. Voters also have the option of dropping off their mail-in ballot at any voting center.
Check with the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters website (lavote.net) to find out where the closest voting center is.
California Black Media contributed to this story.