After a viral petition to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom reportedly reached the necessary threshold to trigger a special election, Newsom appeared on The View to defend himself and responded to the attempt.
“Am I worried about it? Of course, I’m worried about it,” Newsom said regarding the recall effort. “The nature of these things, the up or down question, the zero-sum nature of the question is challenging…so we’re taking it seriously.”
In his interview with The View, Newsom disparaged the recall effort as a distraction, calling it “a sideshow” and
Newsom also tried to discredit the recall attempt by claiming extremists and the alt-right began the effort, stating “the top 10 proponents, the people who are behind this, are members of the 3-percenters, the right-wing militia groups, the Proud Boys, supported the insurrection, are folks that quite literally, enthusiastically support Qanon conspiracies.”
Orrin Heatlie, the leader of the recall effort, acknowledged these concerns but also questioned if it was worth scrutinizing the political affiliation of every single signature, asking “Do we have to denounce everybody that is involved to move it forward? Or do we just move forward and ignore those other elements?”
Anne Dunsmore, who helps run the recall effort, noted a third of the signatures are from non-Republicans and Newsom intentionally misrepresented the movement, stating “two million people are not Republican extremists, and it’s this kind of partisan response that is the reason that he’s tone-deaf to why there’s such a massive amount of citizen unrest.”
The recall campaign announced last week they had amassed over 2 million signature and, given at least 1.5 million signatures hold valid, a special election will be held to decide a new governor of California.
“We have cleared another milestone,” Heatlie said in a written statement last week. “Politics as usual in California are over as we know it to be.”
In a final desperate attempt, Newsom launched his own counter-campaign against the recall effort, Tweeting “I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it. There is too much at stake. Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk” with a link to petition to prevent his recall.
Garnering support from fellow Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) called the recall effort a “naked partisan power grab” fueled by “extreme right-wing Republicans.”
However, with millions in support, Newsom faces a serious possibility of a recall, offering an unmissable opportunity for Republicans to swipe political influence in a solid blue state. Though Republicans haven’t won a statewide office in California since 2006 and 63 percent of voters voted for President Joe Biden in November, a chance has emerged to make a run at the state’s top office.