LOS ANGELES (AP) — California on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 14 recall election that threatens to drive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, the result of a political uprising driven by widespread angst over coronavirus orders that shuttered schools and businesses.
The election in the nation’s most populous state will be a marquee contest with national implications, watched closely as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play.
The date was set by the state’s lieutenant governor after election officials certified that enough valid petition signatures had been turned in to qualify the election for the ballot.
After consulting with California’s 58 counties and the secretary of state, the Department of Finance announced an early special election would cost $276 million. It was certified by the secretary of state hours later.
Many voters have yet to pay attention to the emerging election, while polls have shown Newsom would beat back the effort to remove him. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in heavily Democratic California since 2006.
Republican candidates have depicted Newsom as an incompetent fop, while Democrats have sought to frame the recall as driven by far-right extremists and supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The California GOP issued a statement on Thursday’s date announcement:
Shout out to California Democrats for manipulating their own recall rules. Now Californians only have to wait until September 14 to recall the worst governor in California history, Gavin Newsom.