The recall effort organized to remove California Gov. Gavin Newsom from office announced late Wednesday that it had reached the required 1.5 million signature mark. Once those signatures have been verified, a recall election will be scheduled for later this year.
The organizers of the "Rescue California" movement cited multiple reasons behind the push to remove Newsom. But the effort picked up momentum in response to the governor's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the most aggressive economic shutdowns and restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country, California has nonetheless catapulted to the top of the list of states with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Though political experts acknowledge that actually removing Newsom in a recall election will be a tall order in a predominantly Democratic state like California, the governor's popularity has suffered tremendously over the last several months. Newsom's approval rating has collapsed nearly 20 points since September, and his public events are now being interrupted by protesters.
On Thursday, a visibly annoyed Newsom did his best to ignore repeated chants of "recall Newsom!" interrupting his press conference.
Even though they have reached the required number of signatures, recall organizers are pushing forward, raising funds and collecting more names. They hope to gather nearly 2 million signatures to ensure that they have enough in case some are unable to be verified.