Newsom could be ousted by recall effort

Taylor Moore
LV Life Editor

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a recall election on Sept. 14 – following seven petitions to recall him since February 2020. 

All registered voters were sent mail-in ballots, and they have the option to vote in person at a voter center or polling place starting Sept. 4. 

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Sept. 14, or placed in a dropbox, delivered to a polling place by 8 a.m., or dropped off to the voter’s county elections office by 8 p.m. on election day. 

The recall election for Newsom has become a full-fledged hot topic for the past few months as Democrats and Republicans have increasingly become angered with each other over the situation.

“In some ways, a perfect storm comes together,” said University of La Verne Professor of Political Science Richard Gelm. “People are scared, hurting, and look to blame somebody for it. That’s why politicians are always the easiest target.”

As of April 2021, the collection of signatures on the petition for the recall reached 1.6 million, over 100,000 more than needed to form the petition. According to the Recall Procedures Guide put out by the California Secretary of State’s office, the number of proponents that sign the notice of intention must be at least 10 or equal to the number of signatures required to be filed on the nomination paper of the officer sought to be recalled. 

Gelm said the idea for the recall first began with newly elected Gov. Hiram Johnson in 1910. The goal behind the idea was to give the public an opportunity to fix what they saw as corruption in the government.

Gelm said that we usually see recalls become somewhat more successful when there is some sort of crisis involved. In this case, the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March 2020, a little over a year after Newsom started his term.

Throughout the pandemic with Newsom in office, businesses were shut down and mandatory stay-at-home orders were issued.

Some supporters of the recall said that their efforts to oust Newsom had nothing to do with how Newsom handled the pandemic, on the one hand. But their chief complaints had to do with how the Democratic governor was shutting down the economy – during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their grievances include the mistreatment of small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with taxes, homelessness rates and poor quality of life for California residents.

“The (recall) measure that was designed for good governance does not fit into an era where politics are more of a blood sport and each side is looking for a way to gain power,” said Jason Neidleman, La Verne political science professor.

Gelm said that many Republicans, who are a minority in California, might not have liked the idea of being locked out of the office. And they saw an opportunity to oppose Newsom, a Democratic governor, and seized it. 

Gelm said the recall of Newsom is being funded by the state’s taxpayers through the government. 

The total cost of the recall election is $276 million.

Neidleman said he is not sure how much a new governor would be able to do in the brief time left in Newsom’s term, which ends at the end of 2022. Both the state Senate and Assembly are controlled by Democratic majorities. One of the biggest effects that could come from Newsom losing the recall election is the implementation of the COVID mitigation and distributions of vaccines, as well as strategies on masking and testing. 

Larry Elder, a leading Republican candidate running against Newsom in the election, would be in favor of banning the mask mandate in California, as Republican governors in Texas and Florida have done. 

“The biggest impact that could occur with an Elder victory would be should he have the opportunity to name a senator, there would be a shift in the balance of power,” Neidleman said. 

Gitty Amini, associate professor of political science, said that for students who are trying to figure out how to vote in this recall, they need to try to play the “counterfactual game, ‘What if Newsom wasn’t governor?’” 

Amini said that it can be hard for young adults to try to engage in politics because it is an uncomfortable topic that may bring up conflict, but it is important for them to be involved all the same. 

“I think it would be beneficial for California to have a fresh start with a new governor,” said Russell James Stripling, a registered Republican and Mt. San Antonio College student. “We need someone who respects the Constitution and cares for the people of this state.” 

Kasey Hidalgo, a registered Democrat, said that she finds the recall election to be a waste of time and that Republicans should wait until the 2022 general election. She said that Newsom was put into a difficult situation during the pandemic, and people should not scrutinize him for minor things.

Gelm said that with a Democratic governor in office, funding for education is favored while Republicans are opposed to it. 

“We know that college students have a lot longer to live through the effects of any issues,” Gelm said. “You have to decide what’s the best strategy for the long term to keep you and your family safe down the road.” 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

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