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Activists report 1.2 million signatures to recall California governor

Activists say 1.2 million people have signed a petition to remove California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomNPR journalist discusses home affordability in California California Democrats weigh their recall options California opens vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and up MORE (D) from office over their frustrations with his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

California requires 1.5 million signatures in order for the recall to appear on the ballot.

The Wall Street Journal reports supporters of the recall have raised more than $1.7 million in the effort.

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“Californians are hurting, and we’ve had a dramatic failure of leadership from the governor,” said Kevin FaulconerKevin FaulconerFederal stimulus boosts Newsom ahead of recall Post-COVID equity must include closing racial gaps in housing What's next in the California recall MORE (R), a former San Diego mayor. “The governor’s actions are harming lives and livelihoods, people are at their wits’ end and they want to do something about it.”

Faulconer told the Journal that he would run for governor if a recall election were to occur.

The recall activists are angry due to Newsom’s decision to shut down schools, businesses and places of worship to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

California has been one of the hardest-hit states by the pandemic. It has more than 3.1 million cases of COVID-19, and has suffered 37,121 deaths, according to statistics kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Speaking on behalf of Newsom's office, political adviser Dan Newman told the Journal that the recall effort was being led by supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE.

“Trump supporters want California taxpayers to waste $100 million on a special election redo, mere months before a regularly scheduled election,” said Newman.

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The only California governor to be recalled was Democrat Gray Davis, who left office in 2003 with an approval rating of 26 percent, the Journal notes. Newsom’s rating currently sits at 57 percent, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Newsom has drawn widespread criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. One incident in particular that drew outrage was when Newsom was seen attending a dinner party at the high-end restaurant French Laundry when he had been urging people to stay at home.

A few weeks after Newsom’s dinner at French Laundry, the number of recall signatures had grown to nearly half a million.

The report comes as California lifts regional stay-at-home orders due to improving pandemic conditions. The Associated Press published the news on Monday, reporting that businesses such as restaurants will now be allowed to resume outdoor operations.