By JOSH FRIEDMAN
California voters will decide on Sept. 14 whether or not to recall and replace Gov. Gavin Newsom.
On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis formally ordered that the recall election take place, following California Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s certification of the petition to recall Newsom.
Weber determined the petition contained 1,719,900 valid signatures. A total of 1,495,970 valid signatures was needed to trigger a recall election.
In the September election, voters will be asked whether or not to recall Newsom and, if Newsom is recalled, who should replace him.
A majority vote will be needed in order to recall the governor. If Newsom is recalled, the candidate with the highest vote total in the race to replace him will be elected governor.
Candidates running in the recall election include Republicans Kevin Faulconer, John Cox and Caitlyn Jenner. Faulconer is a former mayor of San Diego; Cox is a former gubernatorial candidate who lost to Newsom in 2018; and Jenner is a retired Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete and television personality.
In 2018, Newsom received 61.9 percent of the vote in the gubernatorial election. Cox received 38.1 percent of the vote.
Critics of Newsom have opposed his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly his statewide shutdown orders. They have chastised him for attending a dinner party with lobbyists at a pricey Napa Valley restaurant while COVID-19 restrictions were in effect. Additionally, opponents have criticized Newsom’s handling of economic and social issues in the Golden State.
Newsom has characterized the effort to oust him as a “Republican recall.” The governor alleges those behind the recall are “a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, Q-Anon conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant Trump supporters.”
California’s first and only gubernatorial recall election took place in 2013. When, voters recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican.