California on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 14 recall election that could drive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.
The recall date was set after the Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber verified the 1.7 million signatures on the recall petition last week.
As CBN News reported, Newsom is facing a recall election this year over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has included strict statewide lockdowns on businesses and schools. He even forced closures of churches.
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 Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat, after election officials certified that enough valid petition signatures had been turned in to qualify the election for the ballot.
The announcement will set off a furious, 10-week burst of campaigning through the California summer, a time when voters typically are ignoring politics to enjoy vacationing, backyard barbecuing, and travel.
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.
Newsom's campaign issued a statement describing the election “a naked attempt by Trump Republicans to grab control in California." It called on his supporters to “defend our state.” Kevin Faulconer, a former San Diego mayor and one of the leading Republican candidates, predicted that “retirement is coming for Gavin Newsom.”
While a final date wasn't set until Thursday, the campaign has been underway for months after it became clear that recall organizers had gathered more than enough of the required 1.5 million petition signatures needed to place the recall on the ballot.
It’s not uncommon in California for residents to seek recalls but they rarely get on the ballot — and even fewer succeed. A sitting governor has been ousted just once in the state, when unpopular Democrat Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.