Leaders of an effort to recall California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomAppeals court blocks California vaccine mandate for prison workers Apple, Nordstrom stores hit in latest smash-and-grab robberies Ted Cruz ribs Newsom over vacation in Mexico: 'Cancun is much nicer than Cabo' MORE (D) said Sunday that they have collected enough signatures to spark a special election this year.
At a press conference, organizers announced that the effort has gathered 1.95 million signatures in support of the recall more than a week ahead of the March 17 deadline. The recall movement leaders said they still plan to try to reach 2 million before that date.
“That is more than enough to be able to have this initiative qualified for a special election later this year to let the people finally decide … what is gonna happen with the fate and the future of California Gov. Gavin Newsom,” Randy Economy, a political adviser working on the effort, said.
“Californians are consistently becoming more disgruntled with how their state’s run,” he added.
Elections officials will have to confirm that almost 1.5 million of these signatures come from registered California voters before triggering the special election.
In early February, the Secretary of State’s Office determined that about 83 percent of the signatures gathered until that point were verified, The Sacramento Bee reported. If the rate remained the same with all of the petitions, it would be enough to get an election.
One of the effort’s leaders, Mike Netter, said that about 1.6 million of the signatures were gathered by volunteers.
“I don’t think you’ve ever seen a volunteer movement like this,” he said.
“It’s literally people from all walks of life, all parties, all religions,” he said. “We have a diversity across the board collecting and united [on] one thing, and that’s the fact that California needs a new governor.”
Newsom's office did not immediately return a request for comment.
The recall movement gained traction as criticism has mounted against Newsom for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly the restrictions against gatherings and on certain businesses.
Newsom won the 2018 gubernatorial race with 62 percent support in the state where Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
A poll from the University of California-Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies in January determined that 36 percent of respondents said they would vote against Newsom in a special election. Forty-five percent indicated they would stand by the governor if a recall election took place.