For months, Gov. Gavin Newsom has avoided commenting on the effort to recall him from office. That changed this week, when he conceded, for starters, that the measure will likely go to California voters. "This one appears to have the requisite signatures," Newsom said Tuesday on The View, with the necessary number being about 1.5 million signatures by Wednesday. The governor's opponents say he's mishandled the pandemic, Politico reports, hurting businesses and schools by repeatedly changing direction on restrictions. Newsom foreshadowed his strategy Tuesday, saying the vote is really about issues like immigration, climate, and an increased minimum wage. A former Republican state party chair said: "This recall is all about one thing: Gavin Newsom's inability to meet the challenges of this pandemic and its consequences. Like a guy caught cheating on his ... homework, he's out to make it about something—anything—else."
The Democratic Party reigns in California; Republicans haven't won statewide office since 2006. The governor and his supporters plan to capitalize on Californians' dislike of former President Trump, per the Los Angeles Times, casting the recall as a campaign driven by pro-Trump extremists. Even Newsom's opponents want Trump, who won 34% of the state vote in November, to stay out of this fight. "I think the less he’s involved in the recall, the better it will be for the recall," said a GOP consultant working on the recall campaign. "The recall has to be about Gavin Newsom for it to be a success." Newsom is happy to have popular Democrats involved, and he announced endorsements from Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker. California has recalled its governor once, which led to Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger taking office in 2003. (Read more Gavin Newsom stories.)