Wednesday marks the deadline for activists petitioning for the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom to submit signatures — an effort that has collected more than 2 million signatures to place the election on the ballot.
Supporters of the movement say they have enough signatures to trigger an election in the middle of Newsom’s term. The movement only needed 1.5 million signatures to get the effort on the ballot but aimed for 2 million to offset any invalid signatures.
After petition signatures are submitted, county officials have until April 29 to validate the signatures and notify the secretary of state.
The California Patriot Coalition/RecallGavin2020 is the group spearheading the Newsom recall efforts.
Orrin Heatlie, chairman of the California Patriot Coalition’s RecallGavin2020 Committee, said Californians “are speaking loud and clear” through the popular petition and declared the winds of change were coming to California politics.
Newsom is fighting back, acknowledging that the issue of his removal would likely come to a vote.
“The reality is it looks like it’s got on the ballot, so we’re ready to go,” Newsom told reporters Tuesday. “We will fight it, we will defeat it.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom pauses during a news conference after touring Barron Park Elementary School on March 2, 2021, in Palo Alto, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Newsom has suggested a racist motive behind the effort to recall him, saying the authors of the petition fear California is becoming less White under his leadership.
“Look at the petition, look at the actual reasons they themselves listed. It has to do with immigration. The ‘Browning’ of California,” Newsom said, using air quotes to emphasize “Browning.”
Newsom spoke to reporters Tuesday at an Alameda County elementary school.
The petition for his recall does not mention race. It states, among other reasons for his removal: “Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens.”
Newsom said his fight to stay as governor “has to do deeply with our values, the things we hold dear and so I’m not just fighting for me, I’m fighting for you.”
Democrats are rallying behind Newsom in an effort to defend him from a recall, unveiling an effort dubbed Stop the Republican Recall, which has the support of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Mass., Cory Booker, N.J., Alex Padilla, Calif., Bernie Sanders, Vt., as well as Reps. Katie Porter, Calif., and Ro Khanna, Calif.
Stacey Abrams is also listed as a supporter on the group’s website.
The White House has said President Biden opposes any effort to remove Newsom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.