State Watch

California state workers union donating $1M to help Newsom fight recall

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The largest workers union in California is donating $1 million to help embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) fight his recall campaign, which reached enough signatures to qualify for a ballot in April.

The Associated Press reported that the board of directors of SEIU Local 1000, which represents 96,000 California state workers, approved a $1 million donation on Wednesday that will go to the SEIU California State Council.

The council, according to the AP, oversees 17 unions and voted to oppose the recall effort last week.

Forty-four members of the board voted for the contribution, nine voted against it and five abstained, according to the AP.

A petition to recall Newsom was first introduced in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the nation and caused the economy to shut down, according to ABC 7. The petitioners were frustrated with how Newsom dealt with issues like immigration, homelessness and property taxes.

Anger at the governor, however, escalated amid the coronavirus pandemic, when some Californians criticized Newsom for his reopening effort and being caught dining at a fancy restaurant while tight restrictions were in place in the state and most residents were being urged to stay home.

The California secretary of state’s office in April announced that the effort to recall Newsom had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Union members, however, were split on whether the organization should throw support behind Newsom and oppose the recall.

“Gavin Newsom will win this recall without our support,” said Robert Bayze, a union member who urged the union to not take a position on the recall, according to the AP.

“The only thing that our support will do is further divide our union,” he added.

The incoming president of the union, Richard Louis Brown, tried to block the group’s contribution. He will start his tenure as president next month after running a successful campaign on an anti-Newsom platform.

Brown is opposed to the state worker pay cuts Newsom enacted amid the pandemic, according to the AP.

The incoming president would need backing from the board of directors for his position, the AP noted. His anti-Newsom comments, however, caused a stir inside the union that largely supports the governor.

While the Newsom recall effort has qualified for a ballot, it must go through additional steps, including a cost estimate by state officials, before officials can set an election date, according to the wire service.

A survey from last month found that nearly 6 in 10 voters say they would vote to keep Newsom in office in a recall election.

A number of challengers, however, are already jockeying for California’s top job.

Olympic gold medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), businessman John Cox (R) and former Rep. Doug Ose (R) are among the candidates who have announced bids for the governor’s seat.

Tags Gavin Newsom Kevin Faulconer

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