Those in California who want to recall the state's governor, Gavin Newsom, have broken the 1 million mark for signatures of their petition. That puts them on track to get the 1,495,709 valid signatures (12% of the voters in the last gubernatorial election) they need to collect by March 17 in order to get the issue on the ballot, longtime recall observers tell CNN. A new report from the California secretary of state's office says nearly 1.1 million signatures had been collected by Feb. 5 (recall proponents say the number is up to 1.72 million now), and of those, 798,310 were verified by their counties and 84% of those have been found to be valid. Newsom's critics say he's mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. He's a Democrat, and Republicans are leading the recall charge. But the AP notes that GOP infighting in the state may hamper the recall effort (more on that here).
Assuming the organizers get the signatures they need, CalMatters has more on the timeline here. Counties would have until April 29 to verify the signatures, and if the threshold of valid signatures is met, a recall election would be scheduled for this year—though it's not clear when. California has only successfully recalled a governor once before, in 2003, when Gray Davis was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Newsom, whose term is up in 2023, has long been unpopular with California Republicans, but efforts to recall him didn't fully catch fire until anger began simmering over his restrictive stay-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. Small-business owners are particularly peeved, and Newsom's reluctance to reopen schools has also come under criticism. Organizers tell Fox News they are aiming for 2 million signatures by March 17. (An entire California school board resigned after mocking parents anxious to reopen in an online meeting they thought was private.)