Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis announced on Thursday that the Governor recall election will be held on September 14th.
An announcement on the date has been expected for weeks following final confirmation of the signatures by Secretary of State Shirley Weber and the 2021-2022 state budget being submitted for approval. The date has been the subject of controversy with Governor Newsom himself intervening by signing SB 152, which allowed the recall date to be significantly moved up. Prior to the signing, political experts had been expecting a October or November election.
“The people have spoken and the recall is happening,” said recall candidate Kevin Faulconer on Thursday in a tweet. “This movement is powered by Californians from every community – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.”
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) July 1, 2021
Governor Newsom and all recall candidates will now have roughly 10 weeks to campaign. With polls currently showing Newsom more likely to beat the recall, but also showing significant vulnerabilities, campaigning is expected to accelerate for all candidates soon.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 2018 GOP Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, former Congressman Doug Ose, Reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, and Santa Ana homicide detective Steven Chavez Lodge have been the main candidates to declare their candidacy for Governor as of Thursday. While some Democrats have declared candidacy, along with dozens of other Republicans, the main candidates coming in with strong support, significant campaign funds, and/or name recognition have so far come down to Faulconer, Cox, Ose, Jenner, and Lodge. A recent poll even found that Faulconer and Cox currently lead the recall effort should Newsom be recalled.
Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have refused to name a major candidate or allow a Democrat with significant recognition to run in favor of supporting Newsom.
As candidates have 59 days until the election, all candidates must file in two weeks time to be on the ballot in time. Many Republicans have either hinted at running or have been speculated on making a run for the last several months. Former Ambassador Ric Grennel, former State Senator John Moorlach, and talk show host Larry Elder have been among the top names, with many other lawmakers, lawyers, and celebrities also being talked about for a GOP run. Democrats have, under the “unity behind Newsom” order, largely not been speculated on, although one major Democrat being included as a “safety” candidate may be added before the candidacy deadline.
10 weeks until the election
“I think the date came as bit of a surprise to everyone,” Harry Schultz, a former lobbyist who was involved with candidates in the 2003 recall election, told the Globe on Thursday. “But, regardless of all the political finagling there, we now have a firm date.”
Schultz continued: “Now we have two weeks of all sorts of people announcing their candidacy, followed by eight weeks of campaigning. With COVID now largely down, we’re going to see those huge crowds again, especially for the more well-known candidates.”
“Newsom will have to not make any big mistakes for ten weeks, and all the candidates jockeying for a win need to figure out how to both get people to vote against Newsom as well as convince others they are better suited for the job.”
“They have Newsom’s COVID-19 record, as well as everything he did beforehand, so the goal is to weaken him with that. Very basically of course, I could spend all day explaining strategies. Newsom, on his part, needs to highlight the good that his policies have done and needs to emphasize the recent things, such as those $600 stimulus checks and utility relief.”
“But, as I said, the date is now in and everyone knows where the finish line is. Now, well, it’s a matter of if Newsom can win his race and stay in power, and if that fails, who wins the other one.”
“Get ready for a hectic 10 weeks and the international media descending on California once again. Midterms are next year, and the results of the recall should show where people are leaning. If Newsom loses or even barely wins out, it could spell trouble for Democrats next year. But if they do well, Dems suddenly have a template post-COVID election playbook to use.”
“Eyes will be on California. Specifically SoCal. Dems have the Bay Area locked up, with Republicans commanding largely rural Eastern and far Northern California not by the coast. LA County is always the biggest factors in these, but Orange County and San Diego County will also play a huge part, as they are like LA County and have big mixes of Democrats and Republicans right now.”
More details of the September 14th election, which is expected to cost at least $215 million, are to be unveiled soon.
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