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Newsom Approval Plummets as New Challengers Emerge

Governor Gavin Newsom is starting to feel major pressure.

The first-term governor, who has worn controversy as a main fashion throughout 2020 and into 2021, faces a recall effort that is quickly gaining momentum. Last week, left-leaning Politico reported that the governor’s approval rating has plummeted to just 46%, and just 45% say they would vote to retain him if the recall makes the ballot.

That’s not good news for a governor who is opposed by a recall campaign that has collected over 93% of the signatures they need with over a month to go.

The governor’s insistence on strict COVID lockdowns has significantly damaged California’s economy, costing the state millions of jobs with little to show for it. The state still has among the highest rates of COVID infection, deaths, and is one of the slowest to deliver vaccines to those who want them.

And on top of that, the personal hypocrisy he displayed throughout the pandemic – including the infamous visit to an upscale restaurant with other unmasked, undistanced attendees – irked many Californians who were locked down at home and told to social distance. It wasn’t a good look for the governor, whose behavior often stands in contradiction to the ploy to “follow the science” sermon he has preached for everyone else.

The gubernatorial recall process

California’s gubernatorial recall process is unlike any other state. Should a qualified number of voters sign the official recall petition, the State will hold a special election with a two-part ballot.

Ballots issued would first ask whether the voter wants to retain or recall Governor Newsom. The second part, if the voter chooses to recall the governor, will ask them to choose who should replace him.

Only two governors have ever been recalled in U.S. History. One of those was former California Gray Davis in 2003. He was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last Republican governor to serve in California.

Who are the frontrunners?

Democrats have been hesitant to insert viable candidates into the race due to loyalty to Newsom, the State’s top Democrat officeholder. But sources say they may be reconsidering that strategy as Newsom’s numbers continue to fall, concerned that their loyalty could lead to another backdoor Republican takeover of the Governor’s mansion.

Several Republicans have now entered the race, including moderate former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who announced his entry last week, and Major Williams, a millennial newcomer from Pasadena. John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, says he also plans to enter the race. 

CFC is analyzing the candidates in this race and plans to issue guidance to pro-family voters in the state, should the recall campaign be successful in gathering the needed number of signatures to end the term of Governor Gavin Newsom. If you’d like to make an investment in CFC’s future voter education materials, please click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

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