A man expresses his displeasure with California Gov. Gavin Newsom as he rides his bike in Huntington Beach in April of 2020 after the Democratic governor ordered a temporary "hard close" only of beaches in Orange County amid the pandemic. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Newsom will face a recall election. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
June 24 (UPI) -- California Secretary of State Shirley Weber confirmed that a petition to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom had received enough signatures to initiate a special election.
Weber said in a statement Wednesday that the recall petition garnered more than 1.7 million verified signatures, more than the 1.49 million necessary, a number that is equal to 12% of the votes cast in California's 2018 gubernatorial election, which Newsom, a Democrat, overwhelming won with 61.9% of the vote to Republican candidate John Cox's 38.1%.
In response to the confirmation, Weber sent a letter to the California Department of Finance to start the next phase of the recall vote. The department must now estimate the costs of holding the recall election, including expenses for verifying signatures, printing ballots and voter information as well as poll operating expenses.
"These estimated costs must be submitted to the governor, the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state and the chairperson of the joint legislative budget committee by Aug. 5," Weber's office said.
Weber made the confirmation after she had announced April 26 that they had collected enough signatures to hold a special election, initiating a 30-day period that ended June 8 during which voters could remove their signatures from the recall petition.
A total of 43 signatures were withdrawn, she announced Wednesday, which is far fewer than the amount required to have negated the recall election.
It will be the state's second recall election in history after Democratic Gov. Gary Davis was recalled in 2003 and was ousted by actor and now-former Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, according to state statistics, there have been 55 attempts to recall a governor.
"It is what it is. This is a Republican recall," Newsom said in an earlier interview with CNN about the effort to unseat him. "An RNC-backed Republican recall of White supremacists, anti-Semites and people who are opposed to immigration and immigrants is an accurate assessment of who's behind this recall."
Via Twitter in late April, Newsom said the recall effort "threatens our values" as well as seeks to undo efforts to fight the pandemic and help families, protect the environment and pass anti-gun violence laws.
The recall effort led by Orrin Heatlie with 125 official proponents began on Feb. 21 of last year.
The petition states grounds for the recall is that "Newsom has implemented laws which are detrimental to the citizens of this state and our way of life."
The document accuses Newsom of endorsing laws that "favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens" as well as criticizes the state's high taxes, homeless crisis and the governor's support for sanctuary city laws, among other progressive policies.
Several people have already announced their candidacies for the recall election including former Olympic gold-medalist Caitlyn Jenner and former Republican northern California Rep. Doug Ose.