CAPITOLA—Efforts to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom are picking up steam, with proponents having gathered 911,000 signatures since June 10.
The all volunteer, grassroots group behind the drive—Recall Gavin 2020—has until March 17 to gather about 1.5 million signatures to qualify for a special election.
Another group, called Rescue California, is also gaining momentum.
Proponents say their efforts are in response to a series of restrictions imposed by Newsom, including shuttered businesses, stay-at-home orders and distance learning for students from kindergarten to college.
“Gavin decided that he would decide for all 40 million Californians things that are beyond his job description as executive,” said Kristin Hurley, who is coordinating the Santa Cruz County group.
Hurley was gathering signatures on Saturday at a table outside Trader Joe’s in Capitola.
She says Newsom’s responses to the virus—some which have come via executive order—were wrong, since he made them without approval from the state legislature.
“What he is doing is so egregious to the state, that we’re taking this avenue to cap his governance,” she said.
Hurley says that support for the recall has been growing in Santa Cruz County, despite its reputation as one of the state’s liberal strongholds.
Statewide, Newsom won the 2018 Gubernatorial election with 62% of the vote, while in Santa Cruz County he garnered more than 76%.
Still, Hurley says that people across the political spectrum are growing frustrated by the extended closures and lockdowns that are devastating many small businesses and affecting the education of millions of students.
“People are changing their minds about Gavin,” she said. They are worried about what’s going on. They are worried for small businesses, they are worried about the state. We are getting a better and better response from the public every time we are out.”
Newsom has survived four other recall efforts, none of which qualified for the ballot. Orrin Healtlie, who filed the fourth and the latest one, did not return a call for comment.
Similarly, Newsom’s office did not return a request for comment by press time.
But in a response to the recall petition published in June on Ballotpedia, Newsom says that the recall effort will cost taxpayers $81 million.
Newsom also says that the initiative is being pushed by “political extremists supporting President Trump’s hateful attacks on California.”
“The last thing California needs is another wasteful special election, supported by those who demonize California’s people and attack California’s values,” Newsom said.
Newsom did not respond directly to the allegations outlined by recall proponents.
Hurley denies that the recall is driven by any political agenda. In fact, she says the efforts span many political affiliations.
She also says that skepticism about the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is a separate issue. While some people rail against measures such as mask-wearing and school closures, government officials say they are in place to slow the spread of Covid-19. Hurley was not wearing a mask at her table Saturday.
As a Libertarian, Hurley says she values “liberty and personal freedom and the ability to go out and conduct business.”
“When I see one man making decisions for 40 million Californians without any sort of checks and balances, it’s not legal, it’s not right, it’s not the way America is set up,” she said.
The recall campaign is funded in part by private donations through the campaign’s state office, Hurley says.
Rescue California has received $500,000 from Prov. 3:9 LLC, an Irvine-based consulting firm that was created in 2018, according to Politico.
If proponents gather enough signatures, the California Secretary of State will then have 30 days to verify the signatures. A special election will be held 60 to 90 days later.