Californians to decide on gubernatorial recall

by Casey Cross

On Tuesday, September 14, the final votes will be cast and the final ballots will be postmarked by Californians voicing whether their governor, Gavin Newsom, should be recalled from office and replaced by one of 46 candidates or if he should remain until the next gubernatorial election in 2022. 

Per the website of the Secretary of State of California, the recall election works in two parts. First, voters determine on their ballot whether they want to recall Newsom. Then voters are prompted to vote on who should replace Newsom. If the first question returns 50% or more votes in favor of keeping Newsom, then he will remain governor, but if more than 50% are in favor of recalling him, the candidate with the most votes in the second part will become the governor of california in Newsom’s place.

As of Friday, September 10, Newson led by 14.7 points on FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of pollsters monitoring the race, with 56.2% of Californians responding in favor of Newson staying in office, and 41.6% in favor of removal. Those running as replacements for Newsom include Republican radio host Larry Elder and Democratic real estate YouTuber Kevin Paffrath, who led the pack on FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of the candidates at 27.6% and 7.0% respectively.

This is the second attempt to recall a governor that has made it to the ballot in California. This required the signatures of at least 12% of the turnout of the previous gubernatorial election. As reported by Domenico Montanaro of NPR, the recall effort began in June 2020 and was focused on a variety of factors outside of the pandemic, but failed to gain much steam until Newsom was caught breaking the state’s mask mandates at a restaurant in November. The previous recall, against then-Governor Greg Davis in 2003, resulted in the election of  Arnold Schwarzenegger to the office. 

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