Republicans launch fundraising vehicle for Newsom recall

California Governor Gavin Newsom
Getty Images

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) on Thursday launched a fundraising vehicle surrounding the expected California recall election as the GOP doubles down on its efforts to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

A source familiar with the matter confirmed the creation of the new platform, Recall Newsom! RGA Action. The initiative is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and will be the central vehicle for the RGA’s involvement in the recall effort.

In a sign the GOP is hoping to flood the vehicle with big bucks, the source confirmed that RGA Chairman Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) and RGA Executive Director Dave Rexrode conducted an initial fundraising call with major donors Wednesday evening. Among those who participated in the call were a dozen of California’s top Republican bundlers. 

The new fundraising vehicle is the latest sign that both parties plan on dumping gargantuan amounts of money in a high-profile race in one of the country’s most expensive states.

In a statement to Politico, which first reported on the RGA’s effort, David Turner, a spokesperson for the Democratic Governors Association, said that his group would “help fight against this Republican recall with every tool at our disposal.” 

Republican organizers supporting the recall effort submitted more than 2.1 million signatures Wednesday, surpassing the 1.5 million needed by the March 17 deadline, and Newsom has already conceded that the recall is likely to make it to a ballot.  

“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. 

However, Newsom is no electoral slouch, and is backed by a beefy war chest and a network of allies in the Golden State and across the nation. He boasts a $20 million bank account, and has enlisted a slew of national figures, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), to bolster his defense heading into the likely election. 

Still, Republicans are touting the recall as their best effort to retake the governor’s mansion in one of the bluest states in the country, underscoring what they say is widespread dissatisfaction with Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus. 

California experienced lengthy business and school closures, which led to grumbling by Republicans across the state. But the recall effort ramped up into full gear when Newsom was spotted last year dining at one of California’s most expensive restaurants at a maskless dinner to celebrate the birthday of a political adviser. 

Newsom’s poll numbers have dropped as Republicans escalate their recall-related messaging, but they do not yet appear fatal. A poll conducted by Emerson College for Nexstar Media 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 Bernie Sanders California gubernatorial recall election Doug Ducey Elizabeth Warren Gavin Newsom Newsom recall Republican Governors Association

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