The statewide effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) has reached yet another milestone as of Wednesday, with the formal petition reaching 1.9 million signatures, according to Fox News.
One of the petition’s organizers, Orrin Heatlie, released a statement on behalf of the recall campaign saying that the group has “reached another milestone, and now we are entering the final stretch of this part of the official campaign to remove California Governor Gavin Newsom from power and office.”
The petition needs 1.5 million verifiable signatures by March 17th in order for the recall question to qualify for the ballot later this year. As such, organizers are pushing for at least 2 million total signatures to create a buffer zone of half a million signatures, in the event that a significant amount of them are ultimately ruled as illegitimate.
“The people of California are speaking loud and clear,” said Mike Netter, another organizer with the RecallGavin2020 campaign. “And we will continue to work tirelessly until the people of California become the final judge and jury on this recall.”
Although Newsom was elected to the governorship in the biggest gubernatorial landslide since 1950, his approval ratings have declined significantly in the midst of his poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Many residents, particularly small business owners, have been critical of his strict lockdown measures since the pandemic began, and Newsom faced widespread accusations of hypocrisy after he violated his own lockdown orders. In November of last year, Newsom was photographed at a dinner party for a friend of his who was a lobbyist for a medical association, with other lobbyists in attendance; not only were Newsom and the other guests not wearing masks as they dined indoors, but the party was being held at the French Laundry, an extremely expensive and high-class restaurant in Napa Valley. His apology afterward was seen as insincere, and fueled his decline in popularity.
Multiple Republican candidates have already announced their bids for governor as the recall campaign gains traction. Among them are Kevin Faulconer, the extremely moderate former Mayor of San Diego; and John Cox, a businessman and perennial candidate who was the Republican nominee in the 2018 election, when he was resoundingly defeated by Newsom by a nearly 24-point margin. Also allegedly considering a run is Richard “Ric” Grenell, the former Ambassador to Germany and Acting Director of National Intelligence in the Trump Administration.