Schwarzenegger says recall election is 'very dangerous' for Newsom

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the only candidate to ever win a recall election in California, says the state’s upcoming referendum on Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomAlarm grows over smash-and-grab robberies amid holiday season Newsom pledges increased spending on busting retail crime rings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE (D) is “very dangerous” for the incumbent. 

Schwarzenegger made the comment in an interview for CNN’s podcast “Total Recall: California’s Political Circus,” which examines the 2003 recall race that led to his ascent to California governor in a victory over then-Gov. Gray Davis (D)

The former GOP governor, though declining to endorse a candidate in the upcoming election, noted that “millions of people” are dissatisfied with Newsom's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and with the wildfires that are raging in the state.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There's millions of people out there that are dissatisfied, dissatisfied with the way the corona was handled, dissatisfied with the fires, dissatisfied with the blackouts," Schwarzenegger said.

When asked if he felt the situation was “dangerous" for Newsom, Schwarzenegger said, “Oh, yes, absolutely.” 

“It's very dangerous for him because you got to take this stuff seriously. For too long, they didn't take it seriously. But now I think they do take it seriously,” the former governor said of Newsom’s team.

Tuesday's election will determine whether Newsom stays in office or gets replaced. About 40 candidates are currently lined up to take Newsom’s place should the Golden State decide to recall him. Among them, conservative radio host Larry Elder has emerged as the front-runner.

But a Suffolk University poll released Wednesday showed that 57.8 percent of voters think Newsom should stay in office, compared with 41 percent in favor of ousting him.

Vice President Harris campaigned with Newsom in the Bay Area on Wednesday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Schwarzenegger had other critiques of Newsom's messaging surrounding the recall campaign. He told CNN that he felt Newsom’s messaging to vote “no” on the recall and leave the other side blank could be problematic for him.

The former governor also disputed Newsom’s messaging that the recall effort is a “Republican power grab.”

“Almost half of the people that are running are not Republicans. So it is incorrect to say to the people that it is a Republican power grab,” he said.