Leaders of the drive hope for 2 million signatures, but only 1.5 million needed
The effort to force a recall vote against California Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking increasingly likely as more than 1.4 million signatures have been collected as of Thursday, according to the Recall Gavin Campaign.
The proponents of the recall effort hope to hit 2 million signatures by March 17th, but only 1.5 million are needed to trigger a mid-year election.
The recall campaign of the Democratic governors was launched by Orrin Heatlie, Chairman of The California Patriot Coalition, but other groups have joined the effort – including Republican Congressional hopeful Joe Collins, who launched a 28-day “Recall Road Trip” earlier this week.
Collins will visit 16 cities appealing to Californians frustrated with the Democratic governor’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. He will collect signatures.
“Gavin has been less than mediocre for California,” Collins told Fox News Thursday.
The Los Angeles native believes that California became a “hotbed” for the virus “due to a lack of leadership.”
“Instead of giving money to illegal immigrants, he should have given back to small businesses … he should have been transparent on why he chose to shut down California,” Collins said.
California has seen the highest number of coronavirus cases throughout the country, though the state’s death total still trails that of New York. But a recent spike in cases prompted the governor to enforce a new round of stay-at-home orders at the end of last year, infuriating California Republicans.
The state on Dec. 15 saw its highest daily caseload of the entire pandemic, with more than 53,700 cases confirmed. But following nearly two months of increased restrictions, cases have plummeted in the Golden State, with just over 13,000 cases reported Wednesday.
Collins argued that as the death rate has remained relatively low, “shutting down businesses should not have been the solution.”
“Instead, shut down targeted public areas,” he said, adding that only people who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus should have been restricted to stay-at-home orders. “I think a better solution is to listen to what people want,” he continued.
He also condemned Newsom’s November decision to eat out at the upscale French Laundry eatery, after advising Californians to stay home for the holidays, and said the Democratic leader should not “be a hypocrite.”
Though Newsom later conceded that he should have “modeled better behavior,” despite the outdoor meal having met state guidelines, his decisions during the last two months of 2020 fueled a lot of GOP anger in the West Coast state.
But a new poll by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies — which surveyed 10,000 Californians — found that recalling Newsom may not be popular amongst voters, despite the increasing odds that the recall vote will be held.
Only 36% of California poll takers said they support the effort — the overwhelming majority of whom identified as Republicans, while 45% of responders said they will support the governor. Another 19% of voters said they remain undecided.
But Collins told Fox News that after speaking with California voters, he is confident Newsom is facing a real threat in the recall vote.
“There are a lot people who feel we deserve better,” he said.
Collins is currently running to unseat Rep. Maxine Waters — a Democrat who has served 15 terms in the House — in the 2022 election. He has yet to endorse any candidates vying for Newsom’s potentially vulnerable governorship.
“If the Republican Party cannot dish out any valid candidates, I may have to jump in and see what I can do,” he told Fox News.
Several Republicans — including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer — have announced their intent to run against Newsom, should a mid-year election be triggered in March.
California has reported nearly 3.3 million cases of coronavirus since the pandemic started, with nearly 42,500 deaths so far.
Fox News has reached out to Gavin Newsom to do a Zoom interview about the recall, but he has not replied to the request.
Author: Caitlin McFall