What’s Next on California Gov. Gavin Newsom Recall?

1.5 million Californians signed recall petitions against Gov. Gavin Newsom over his mishandling of the state’s response to the China Virus pandemic, not doing enough to address the state’s homelessness rate, and supporting sanctuary city policies and water rationing.   

Tuesday, June 8th was the deadline for voters who signed a petition to recall the liberal Democrat governor to request to have their signatures removed. County election offices have until June 22 to report the number of remaining signatures to the California secretary of state.

If after that period, at least 1,495,709 signatures remain, the recall election will proceed to a budgeting phase. Recall organizers submitted 1,719,943 valid signatures. 

The California Department of Finance will have 30 days to provide estimated costs for the recall election. Once that estimate is complete, the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee will review it and report back to the secretary of state’s office. After that, the lieutenant governor—Eleni Kounalakis (D)—is required to schedule a recall election between 60 and 80 days after the signatures are certified. By law, she may choose to consolidate the recall with the next regularly scheduled election if that election occurs within 180 days of certification.

These steps don’t have to take the full amount of time allotted to them; each phase could be completed sooner, which would start the time allocated to the next part of the process. This means that the recall election could occur between August and November.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled from office. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled.

A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election with no majority required. Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. 

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Davis’ replacement.

If  Newsom is recalled, his replacement would serve the remainder of his current term, which expires on Jan. 2, 2023. The next regularly scheduled election on Nov. 8, 2022, would determine the state’s next governor.

As of June 9, 2021, 51 individuals have announced campaigns if the recall goes to the ballot. Among those are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose (R), and Caitlyn Jenner (R).

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