A new effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom from office is gaining momentum in California

Last year, in the midst of rising coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom established strict statewide orders to reduce California’s rate of positive cases. As a result of these orders, indoor dining was moved outdoors, hair and nail salons were forced to shut down, indoor worship gatherings were prohibited and other restrictions were established. These state-wide mandates engendered uproar among a multitude of California’s residents.

Movements to recall Newsom from office are not new. Five campaigns were created last year which attempted to effectuate his removal. However, this new wave has recently emerged with a significantly stronger influence. The current effort to recall the governor has gained millions of supporters, whereas previous efforts were dismissed as nothing but coups incited by a fragment of conservatives.

This resurgence was not only prompted by the mandates Newsom imposed, but also by his supposed hypocrisy. In November, the governor received a tremendous amount of negative criticism after attending an indoor dinner party with lobbyists at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa, Calif. 

Newsom attended the party during a time when he was discouraging indoor gatherings of three or more households. In a seemingly unprecedented event, Californians from both sides of the political aisle expressed their discontentment with Gov. Newsom’s actions, resulting in a televised apology from the governor.

To add to the tension, there are numerous residents who are in the dark when it comes to how and when they will obtain a COVID-19 vaccine

The pandemic has given Republicans, long sidelined in this heavily Democratic state, a rare opportunity to wound [the governor]. And Newsom is laboring to keep the state — and his own political future — intact,” said Politico

The site, recallgavin2020.com, is the hub where recall-Newsom advocates have gathered to advance their cause. 

Everywhere you look, the failures of Governor Newsom are obvious and appalling to everyone,” they say on their site. “For this reason, the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign is not conservative or liberal, or right or left, or Republican or Democrat. This is a mass uprising.”

The recall petition has garnered 1.2 million signatures and is being financially supported by a number of Silicon Valley millionaires such as the tech investor, Doug Leone. Over 300,000 signatures of support have been added to the recall effort in the past two weeks alone, according to the California Secretary of State’s office

At Monday’s press conference, Gov. Newsom responded optimistically to the ebbing trend of COVID-19 cases. “We are anticipating still more decline in hospitalizations and more declines in ICU,” Newsom said, “and that’s why we’re lifting that stay at home order effective immediately.”

California has recently seen a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations by 8.5%, a decrease in Intensive Care Unit admissions by 2.8% and an 11.6% decrease in test positivity over the past 14 days.

“The lifting of regional closures is welcome relief to restaurants that can resume outdoor dining, and businesses such as gyms, hair and nail salons that can now reopen with modifications,” NPR reported.

Newsom claims that he has relaxed his prohibitions as a result of science; however, there are rumors the governor has acquiesced to those who have voiced opposition against him.

When asked if he mitigated restrictions in fear of the recall effort, Newsom retorted by saying it was, “-complete utter nonsense.” 

Recalls in California have been a mechanism in the state’s government since 1911. The last and only recall vote was called in 2003 against former Gov. Gray Davis. The vote resulted in the removal of Davis, and the placement of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in office.

As to the possibility of a recall vote being instituted in the coming weeks, UC Davis Political Science professor, Isaac Hale, commented, “I think it’s pretty likely … Of course, whether such a recall is likely to be successful is an entirely different question.”

For a recall vote to be introduced, a petition must be circulated in five respective counties and signed by a minimum of 1.5 million residents. A recall election will then be instituted by the Lieutenant Governor between 60 to 80 days after the verification of the petition, which will determine who our governor will be, Newsom or a potential challenger.

Supporters of Newsom’s recall have until March 17 to force a recall vote.