Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom could be locking down his state into a serious recall challenge next year.
After developing a reputation as one of the strictest state emperors in the country and the first to implement a statewide stay-home order in March, Newsom has governed his way into a possible recall effort after harsh lockdowns have mobilized the opposition.
According to Politico on Friday, a new recall effort has garnered more support than the five attempts in the past, pulling endorsements from the California Republican Party and prominent elected officials in the state such as Rep. Devin Nunes.
“The California delegation as we sit today is … in favor of it,” Nunes told a local radio host last week.
U.S. Representative-elect David Valadao, who is headed back to his old seat in Congress, also confirmed the recall campaign’s broad support among state Republicans, which has also earned the backing of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Gingrich, Politico reported, has offered to conduct Zoom calls and fundraisers to support the movement.
Newsom’s threat of a recall challenge suffering economic losses exacerbated by his lockdowns comes weeks after the California Democrat was caught enjoying a high-priced dinner at a three-star Michelin restaurant in the heart of Napa Valley’s wine country, violating the COVID rules he imposed on residents. Photos were captured of Newsom feasting maskless at a lobbyist friend’s birthday party indoors with no social distancing as the governor was demanding Californians cancel their plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
EXCLUSIVE: We've obtained photos of Governor Gavin Newsom at the Napa dinner party he's in hot water over. The photos call into question just how outdoors the dinner was. A witness who took photos tells us his group was so loud, the sliding doors had to be closed. 10pm on @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/gtOVEwa864
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 18, 2020
Newsom later admitted a mistake, then tightened lockdown restrictions.
While the bar to land a recall challenge on the ballot in California is incredibly low when compared to the process in other states, a successful effort remains a long-shot. No Republican has won a statewide race in California in 14 years. In November, former Vice President Joe Biden carried the state’s 55 electoral votes by about five million ballots, claiming almost the entire difference in the national popular vote over President Donald Trump.
A triumphant recall, however, can certainly still happen. In 2003, Republican Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully replaced incumbent Democrat Gray Davis. A Newsom recall challenge would be the fourth time a sitting governor has been forced to confront a recall on the ballot, the last one being Republican Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who survived the effort in 2012.