SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 1.9 million signatures and counting- that's roughly how many people would like to see a recall election for California Governor Gavin Newsom, recall organizers said Sunday. About 1.5 million signatures still need to be verified and validated to force a recall against the Democrat.
On Sunday afternoon, a few hundred people rallied near the state capitol to promote their cause. Recall organizers and supporters cited Newsom's handling of the state's economy during the coronavirus pandemic as a main reason for wanting him gone.
ABC10 spoke with longtime California political analyst Steve Swatt about what's next.
"It's extremely likely this measure will qualify for the ballot, because by submitting about 2 million signatures, when you throw out the bad signatures, you are likely to get the 1.5 million they need to qualify for this measure," Swatt said.
Swatt said he believes it will be easier to qualify the recall than actually pass it.
"California is overwhelmingly democratic," he said. "Registration edge between Democrats and Republicans is now 22%, and Governor Newsom has a decent approval rating- about 50 percent. It was higher; it's been going down... That contrasts to the 30% that Gray Davis had when he was governor in 2003, and he was recalled from office."
There are a few factors that can potentially draw out the process. Certification of signatures can take a while and then there's time allotted for people to withdraw their signatures. Also, a cost analysis by the Department of Finance can draw out the timeline.
Swatt said, with those factors in mind, an election could likely be held as far out as November.
"The pandemic will be close to over, hopefully. Kids will be back in school," he said. "So, some of the disenchantment with Governor Newsom and the vaccine rollout, for example, and the entire handling of the pandemic will be in the rearview mirror. I think the extra time will only help Governor Newsom as he fights to defeat this recall."
Swatt also mentioned that there are several people predicted to run in the separate election if recall efforts get to that point. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulkner, John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, and Richard Grenell, President Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence. Swatt said these candidates who have all openly supported the former president might not play well in a predominantly blue state.
"Donald Trump's name is still very toxic in the state of California," he said. "I think it would be difficult for one of these Trump Republicans to actually win a statewide campaign in California."
ABC10 reached out to Governor Newsom’s office for comment, but the message was not immediately returned.