More than a year after a campaign to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom began, California on Thursday announced that the recall vote will be held Sept. 14. The rules gave Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who set the date, only limited options, Politico reports. The announcement came just after state elections boss Shirley Weber certified the recall. A Sept. 14 vote "gives election officials and the public ample time to ensure a smooth election with broad participation," Kounalakis said. The state said Thursday it expects the election to cost $276 million. The schedule allows potential candidates for governor just over two weeks to decide whether to run, per the Los Angeles Times. The campaign will last less than three months. It nonetheless could be expensive. Newsom is allowed to spend an unlimited amount in his defense, and both parties have invested in the race.
The decisions before voters will be whether Newsom, a Democrat, should be replaced, then who should take his place as governor. He appeared vulnerable early in the pandemic after his closings of businesses and schools proved unpopular. And Newsom didn't help himself by being spotted at a restaurant, without a mask, in violation of his own guidance. But he's appeared stronger lately, per the Hill, with coronavirus cases dropping in California and the state reporting a $38 billion budget surplus after large deficits were feared. In addition, Newsom might be more at risk from a Democratic challenger, per the Times, and no big names have publicly shown interest in running. They still have time to file, however. This is the sixth effort to recall Newsom launched by his opponents since he became governor in January 2019. (Read more Gavin Newsom stories.)