A recall campaign to oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom is nearing its required threshold to qualify for a statewide ballot.
Over the weekend, recall organizers said they have collected 1.2 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed by March 17 to qualify for a ballot.
Per state law, petition sponsors must gather the signatures of 12% of the voter turnout in California’s previous statewide election, which is about 1,495,709 names.
Rescue California, one of two main groups organizing the campaign, said their goal is to collect 2 million signatures to account for the fact that many of the signatures will inevitably prove invalid.
San Diego’s KUSI reported Saturday that California’s secretary of state has confirmed 84% of the signatures collected so far are valid.
This is the sixth recall effort the Democratic governor has faced in two years. Once considered a pipe dream in the solidly blue state, this latest recall effort gained traction in the last year because of growing discontent over the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy.
"It's absolutely gaining traction. We're getting petitions from not only Republicans but from Democrats and Independents," John Cox, Newsom's 2018 Republican challenger who recently launched an exploratory committee to challenge the governor again in 2022, told Fox News last week. "This has just gone on too long -- the mismanagement that has accompanied this pandemic."
Public frustration mounted in November when the governor was photographed at the upscale French Laundry restaurant in Napa amid the coronavirus pandemic.