LOS ANGELES – A Republican-led campaign to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis (search) has submitted more than 375,000 signatures, more than 40 percent of the number needed to force an election, the secretary of state reported Tuesday.
The recall effort has gained momentum since Rep. Darrell Issa (search), R-Calif., began pouring money into it last month. Issa, the only declared candidate to replace Davis, has contributed $1.15 million so far.
Recall proponents must collect 897,158 valid signatures by Sept. 2 to force an election next year.
California counties, which must report recall signature totals every 30 days, received 376,008 signatures as of June 16, according to the secretary of state's office. Last month the office reported that counties had received only 18,590 signatures.
Recall proponents estimate they have collected about 900,000 signatures, but say they have not submitted many of them. They could force a special election this fall — instead of sharing the ballot with the state's March primary election — if they collect the needed signatures by July 16.