California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s opponents have gathered enough signatures to force a recall election this year, CNN reports.
Newsom’s opponents have collected at least 1,626,000 verified signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office, surpassing the 1.495 million mark (12% of the population) necessary to force a runoff in a protest of the governor’s pandemic response.
"This now triggers the next phase of the recall process, a 30-business-day period in which voters may submit written requests to county Registrars of Voters to remove their names from the recall petition," California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber said in a statement. "A recall election will be held unless a sufficient number of signatures are withdrawn."
California voters will get two questions on the recall ballot: do they want to recall Newsom and which candidate they want to replace Newsom.
But it’s unclear when the election will happen, with dates ranging from as early as the summer to as late as December.
Newsom decries GOP “power grab”:
"It is what it is. This is a Republican recall," Newsom told CNN. "An RNC-backed Republican recall of White supremacists, anti-Semites and people who are opposed to immigration and immigrants is an accurate assessment of who's behind this recall."
Newsom released an ad on Monday calling the recall a Republican “power grab.”
"This Republican recall threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress we've made -- from fighting COVID, to helping struggling families, protecting our environment, and passing commonsense gun violence solutions," he tweeted. "There's too much at stake."
List of candidates grows:
Numerous Republicans are already expected to challenge Newsom, who won his last election with 62% of the vote and has an approval rating of 53%.
The most high-profile is reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who announced her intention to run last week.
Other candidates include businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer though the list is expected to grow.
When the state recalled Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, more than 125 candidates appeared on the ballot. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger ultimately won the election.
But California looks different now with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.