Democrats Are Fighting Back Against the Effort to Recall Gavin Newsom

Here comes the anti-recall campaign.

Allen J. Schaben/Getty

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The Recall Gavin campaign has officially grabbed the attention of its target. Yesterday, Democrats launched a Stop the Republican Recall campaign, the first sign from the party and Newsom’s office that the recall effort poses a legitimate threat.

The group rolled out an anti-recall TV ad and promoted a slew of major Democrats against the effort. It pushed the recall as ridiculous, brought by a “coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant Trump supporters.” The recall opponent group cites the Los Angeles Timesreporting on the links between the recall funders—largely California GOP members and a small group of wealthy tech—and some of its far-right, white supremacist supporters. Though the campaign claims to have gathered over 2 million signatures—more than enough to trigger a special election—a recent poll shows in that event only 38 percent of Californians would vote to oust Newsom.

The RecallGavin2020 campaign, which began late last year, has morphed from a fringe petition initiated by a retired police sergeant and promoted by an eye-patch-wearing political consultant into a catch-all raison d’être for lockdown weary Californians, Republicans, and far-right conspiracists alike—the pinnacle of the state’s recall fever. When I profiled Randy Economy, the campaign’s spokesperson and said political consultant, he gleefully raved about those appropriating his effort for their grievances. As I reported then, a few prominent and wealthy tech barons have joined the recall.

Some of the campaign’s biggest monetary backing has come from Silicon Valley moguls dissatisfied with the state’s attempts to regulate Big Tech. Billionaire investor and Golden State Warriors part-owner Chamath Palihapitiya may not share Economy’s self-proclaimed “fiercely independent” politics, but that didn’t keep him from donating $100,000 to the recall effort—after hinting at his own plans to challenge Newsom. (Palihapitiya has since said he won’t run.) Venture capitalist Doug Leone and his wife have also donated about $100,000 to the recall effort. The investor and former PayPal executive David Sacks is another recall backer; his wife, Jacqueline, gave $25,000 in support.

Though the campaign alleges to already have more than enough votes to force a recall vote, the most recent February numbers from the Secretary of State indicate that the campaign would still need over 800,000 signatures, even more if ensuring valid, verified signatures. Petitioners have until March 17 to submit signatures after which the registrar’s office has until late April to certify them. If a special election is forced and goes in favor of his critics, Newsom will be the second California governor to be booted from office after the 2003 recall of Democrat Gray Davis.

At Dodger Stadium last week, Newsom addressed Californians for his second State of the State Address since the pandemic began to highlight the strides his administration has taken to distributing vaccines. Though Newsom did not explicitly mention the recall effort by name, he referenced those “promoting partisan, power grabs with outdated prejudices,” that he will “not be distracted from getting shots in arms and our economy booming again.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate