Much remains to be changed: if the organizers of the recall hit the signature threshold, the vote on Mr Newsom’s recall and the election of his successor – both of which would be in a single ballot – would likely only take place near the end of the year.
This recall is being led by Orrin Heatlie, a Conservative and former sergeant in the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department who shared her views on vaccination and LGBTQ online as recently as last year. However, the company is backed by a number of political action committees, most of which are right-wing.
Randy Economy, a political advisor and talk radio host, is serving as senior advisor to Recall Gavin Newsom, the group organizing the effort. He said the governor’s behavior and conduct made the recall necessary. “It’s up to Gavin Newsom himself and the way he’s been acting every day since he became governor,” Economy said in an interview. “It was more about his image and his self-aggrandizement than about fixing the problems.”
Mr. Newsom’s approval rating is nowhere near as low as Governor Gray Davis’s in 2003, when voters ousted him on a recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ran as a moderate Republican, benefited from these efforts, won the recall elections and served as governor for more than seven years.
California politics is different – and decidedly more democratic – than it was 18 years ago. Democrats now have a 2: 1 advantage in terms of voter registration across the state. Just because there’s a Republican-led effort doesn’t mean that a Republican will be the one who will ultimately benefit from it. Mr Economy, who volunteered for Mr Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 but has also worked for Democrats in the past, insisted that his team’s goal was non-partisan.
“It’s not our job to choose the next governor. Our job is to ensure that this governor is recalled and removed from office, ”he said.
The state shines a light on prominent (let alone popular) GOP politicians, and some ambitious Democrats already seem ready to run through the open door. All of this suggests a possible irony: even if it were only the second successful recall in California history, the conservative-led push could ultimately elevate another Democrat, possibly one to the left of Mr. Newsom.