The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, explained


Covid-19 made governors popular, until it didn’t. Now, California’s Newsom may lose his seat.

One and a half million. Or, to be more exact, 1,495,709. That’s how many signatures are needed to force California Gov. Gavin Newsom into a recall election.

Thanks to the state’s affinity for direct democracy, a judge’s order extending the deadline to collect signatures, and Newsom’s now infamous decision to attend a $350-a-person, unmasked, indoor dinner party — all of which catalyzed simmering resentments governors around the country are facing over Covid-19 restrictions — Newsom, a Democrat, just might have to face one.

It’s going to come down to the wire. Last week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) injected $250,000 into the final stretch. One of the two committees working to recall Newsom says they have already collected over 1.6 million signatures — but since not every single signature will be valid, they are racing to collect at least 1.8 million, if not 2 million, signatures before the March 17 deadline.

On Friday, the California Secretary of State’s office released the current total signatures received as of February 5. Of the nearly 800,000 signatures they’ve counted so far, 668,202 are valid. (The recall committees have submitted over 1 million, but some of the signatures are still being counted). At this point, organizers are averaging a roughly 84 percent validity rate. If that rate holds as the state continues counting, the organizers will only need to collect another 200,000 signatures on top of what they say they already have.

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This is a lot of money and effort to get rid of Newsom 11 months early. Who is making money off this?