Former GOP lawmaker jumps into California recall election

Former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) announced Tuesday he will run for governor as California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) faces a recall effort that is increasingly likely to make it to the ballot. 

Ose, who served in the House from 1999 to 2005, said he will either run if Newsom is recalled or in the regular 2022 election, when the governor will run for a second term if he survives the current campaign to oust him.

“I’ve come to the point where I’ve decided I’m going to run for governor here in the state of California, whether it be in the recall or in the regular cycle in 2022. I’ve lived here my entire life, I’ve never seen it so screwed up,” Ose said in an interview on KFBK during which he announced his run.

Ose is the latest Republican to announce they’ll run if Newsom is recalled. He joins former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom in a 2018 landslide. Several more Republicans are expected to throw their hats into the ring in the coming weeks.

Following his stint in the House, Ose sought a congressional comeback in 2014 but narrowly lost his bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Ami Bera. He also flirted with a 2018 gubernatorial campaign, though he ultimately decided to not run.

Ose framed his campaign as one opposed to Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus. Frustration has boiled over among Republicans for his coronavirus restrictions, including school and business closures. He also set off a firestorm when he ordered some businesses to shutter and urged Californians to remain home only to be spotted at a posh restaurant celebrating the birthday of a political adviser. 

“Do as I say, not as I do. That’s how Gavin Newsom operates. Newsom sided with the unions to close your kids’ public schools while his children were in their classrooms. Newsom dined in California’s fanciest restaurant while telling you and me to stay sheltered at home and supported lockdowns that destroyed mom and pop businesses,” Ose said in a campaign ad

“Here’s the truth: We’re not going to solve all of California’s problems overnight, but there are three things we can do right now: open our schools, open our economy and recall Gavin Newsom,” he added. “No more excuses, no more double standards. California deserves better.” 

Recall supporters are facing down a Wednesday deadline to submit 1.5 million valid signatures to get a recall on the ballot, a scenario that is appearing more and more likely. 

“I’ve only been in office 25 months. Just in 25 months, there’s been six efforts to put a recall on the ballot. This one appears to have the requisite signatures,” Newsom said during an appearance on ABC’s “The View” Tuesday.

“Am I worried about it? Of course I’m worried about it,” he added. “The nature of these things, the up-or-down question, the zero-sum nature of the question is challenging. … We’re taking it seriously.”

Should the recall make it to a vote, voters will answer two questions on the same ballot. First, they will be asked if Newsom should be recalled. The second question asks who should replace him, though the results of that question are only tallied if a majority actually vote for Newsom’s ouster.

Newsom cannot be an option on the second question, though an unlimited number of other contenders can run.

The recall effort marks Republicans’ best chance to take back the governorship. However, California’s blue hue has only grown darker in recent years, and registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.

On top of that, Newsom’s poll numbers have taken a hit, but they do not yet appear fatal. A poll conducted by Emerson College for Nexstar Media found that California voters are split over the Newsom recall. The survey found that 42 percent of voters in the state would choose to keep the governor in office, while 38 percent would vote to recall him. 

The poll also found that 45 percent approved of Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus, while 44 percent disapproved.

Tags Ami Bera California governor recall Doug Ose Gavin Newsom Kevin Faulconer kirk cox

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