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Petition to recall Governor Gavin Newsom still growing, political analyst says it's "a real threat"

“It’s getting close enough that I think it is a real threat to the governor.”
Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 20:50:46-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The recall effort for Governor Gavin Newsom continues to gain traction, as political analysts believe it’s getting more and more likely that enough signatures will be collected to trigger a recall election at some point this year.

Recall efforts are not uncommon in California. Petitions circulate to remove most governors, but not many grow to be this big, as petition organizers say 1.6 million signatures have been collected so far.

“It’s getting close enough that I think it is a real threat to the governor,” said Allen Bolar, political science professor, Bakersfield College.

California Governor Gavin Newsom was largely applauded for his leadership at the beginning of the pandemic, but as economic restrictions weighed on the patience of his constituents, and a photo of the governor trended online showing him maskless at a dinner gathering back in November, his leadership was questioned.

“It fueled a perception that the consequences of COVID and the lockdowns were something that was going to be felt by other people and not him,” said Bolar.

The governor is now in the hot seat and, the organizer of the recall effort is now reporting more than 1.6 million petitions signed, despite some positives that have happened under his command.

“Our economy is doing better, even though it’s not doing good, it’s doing better than many other states, our state government budget is in a surplus, which is totally unexpected,” added Bolar.

“He cannot provide us the vaccine, so what California needs is probably a new governor,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, speaking on Wednesday.

Still, a recall from Republican leaders and other Newsom opponents continues, appearing to resonate with many Californians, the governor not directly addressing recall concerns after being asked about it in his visit to Kern County Monday.

“I just, I’m focused on vaccines, I’m focused on getting vaccines into people’s arms,” said Newsom.

If the recall effort meets its signature goal, which is looking more possible every day, then a special recall election would be triggered this year, where voters will decide whether or not they want to keep Newsom in office.

Political science professor Allen Bolar told us that election could be a toss-up, but he gives the advantage to the left.

“I would say at this point, more likely than not, he would remain the governor. He would not be recalled, because I would expect the Democratic party to rally around him.”

Bolar says Democrats also rallied around former California governor Gray Davis when voters triggered a recall election for him in 2003. Davis was voted out of office. the difference now is Newsom's approval rating is much higher than David's. Newsom is hovering in the 40s to 50s. Davis was in the 20s.