Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gave a press conference Thursday in which she lent her support to Governor Gavin Newsom in his impending recall election later this year and warned other California Democrats not to run to maintain party unity.
Pelosi joined other prominent Californian Democratic lawmakers, such as Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) and Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), as well as national party leaders, including President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), in opposition to Governor Newsom’s recall election. During her conference, Pelosi said that Newsom would defeat the measure decisively and suggesting that the entire recall campaign was simply started by Trump supporters to get rid of Newsom.
“I think it’s an unnecessary notion. I don’t even think it rises to the level of an idea,” said Pelosi on Thursday during the press conference. “I think that the governor will defeat this quite successfully, and we’ll all help him do that. I do think we will defeat the initiative not because of who started it, the Trumpites, but because of the governor’s leadership.”
Pelosi also reiterated that no California Democrat should run in the recall election, even as an “insurance policy” just in case Newsom is voted out, similar to how Democrats chose then-Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante to run in the recall election in 2003 after it became apparent that then Governor Gray Davis may be recalled.
However, recall supporters and political analysts have noted many discrepancies with what Pelosi said on Thursday, saying that the race is much closer than Democrats would like to admit.
Recent polls have shown that Newsom’s popularity has been steadily going down since the fall of 2020, with some polls now showing a majority of Californians disapproving of his performance. 2.1 million signatures were also gathered statewide for the recall petition, with 1.2 million already having been validated at an 81% approval rate – a rate at which guarantees that a recall election will happen this year should it hold up.
The claim that only Republicans have been backing the recall has also been thoroughly rebuffed in the past few months, with around 1/3rd of all signees being either Independent or Democrat. Preliminary petition signature information released by the California Secretary of State also found larger than expected number of signatories in counties with high Latino and Asian populations, with counties in the Southern California, Central Valley, and Sacramento Valley areas showing higher than expected numbers of signers – a metric that in the past has correlated with the number of voters in an area during an election.
More Californians likely to vote to recall Newsom according to recent polls
Racial support for Newsom has also been sliding considerably in the last few months.
“Probolsky Research just had a poll the other day that found that 44.5% of Latino voters would vote for recall,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz, who helped lobby during the 2003 Gray Davis recall, to the Globe. “That’s compared to 41% voting no.”
“Recall support in California has shown significant percentages across races in California, with some analysts finding that whites and Asians had the highest figures. But the rise in Latinos voting against Newsom, or at least in this case Newsom’s policies hurting them so much that a majority of them would vote to oust Newsom, has to be leaving Democrats scared. A growing number of Latinos in California have been voting more to the right in recent years, even helping vote down affirmative action last year among other propositions. Plus, a lot of Latinos were directly affected by Newsom’s policies, whether they were small business owners in LA or were farm hands in rural Kings County not receiving aid because of how Newsom divvied it up early on.”
“The point is, this is why Pelosi and others are screaming party unity in California. They are scared he’ll be recalled. They’re playing chicken right now with the train rather than trying to divert it or slow it down. They don’t want to admit that Republicans in California don’t want any machine candidates as Governor and are quickly diversifying statewide. And they don’t want to admit that the recall has a chance. And that includes not picking a safety candidate, despite having a large number of young and diverse possible candidates who could use the nomination as a way to get noticed nationally. So not only are they not playing it smart by having a backup plan, they’re also refusing an opportunity for a ton of press on one of their rising stars.”
Senior Advisor for RecallGavin2020, Randy Economy, also weighed in on Thursday in an email to the press.
“Pelosi needs to stay in her lane,” said Economy. “The San Francisco political elite like to protect themselves and have no respect for the people of California during this historical recall.”
In the recent Secretary of State recall petition voting update, San Francisco County came in with one of the lowest signature totals for a county despite being one of the most populous counties in the state, falling well below some of the low population rural county totals.
Despite Pelosi being adamant of Newsom’s victory, both state and national Democrats are gearing up for a huge election this fall, with Newsom already launching his own political committee to fight the recall and the California Democratic Party (CADEM) giving $250,000 to fight the recall.
Final valid signature total to trigger a recall are due at the end of April. Of the 900,000 more signatures left to validate, only 300,000 are needed for a recall election later this year.