According to a Secretary of State late contribution report filed on Tuesday, the Governor Gavin Newsom recall campaign received over $1 million in late contribution funding in mid-December, including a $500,000 donation from an Orange County-based consulting firm.
Since being sworn in as Governor in 2019, Newsom has survived 6 recall attempts, all of which did not receive enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. However, the latest attempt, led by groups such as Rescue California and Recall Gavin 2020, have picked up significant traction since the fall. Public anger over lockdowns and business closures, coupled with incidents such as the EDD losing $2 billion from unemployment fraud and breaking his own guidelines by attending a large party with few health measures being taken, have led hundreds of thousands of Californians to sign a recall petition against him. In late November, the campaign reached it’s halfway mark of getting over 800,000 signatures.
Despite the strong word of mouth, a shortage of funding had loomed over the campaign.
“For a recall to be successful, you need to have both a lawmaker or judge who really went against their office or the people, and you need to have the funding to make it happen,” former lobbyist Harry Schultz told the Globe. “When Gray Davis was recalled as Governor in 2003, [Congressman] Darrell Issa heavily funded the recall effort, and the public had grown more and more against Davis since the 2002 election, with the big issue being the energy crisis here at the time.
“Judge Aaron Persky up in Santa Clara County got a lot of public backlash over his sentencing in People V. Turner a few years ago, and a lot of people, led by rape victims, funded the campaign against him. Same with Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) in 2018 after he voted on the gas tax, made a lot of people mad, had a large donation pool against him, and then lost.
“Previous ones against Newsom and [former Governor Jerry] Brown didn’t get far because of not having the funding or not being that popular among voters.”
Over $1 million in donations
However, the Rescue California campaign saw the first large donations this month. The Irvine-based consultancy service, Prov 3:9 LLC, led the pack with $500,000 in donations. While Prov 3:9 has been quiet about their services and their donations, the manager of the group, Thomas Liu, did say that they donated because, “We have our beliefs in terms of the direction the state needs to go, and we felt that this effort was worthy of our contribution.”
Other groups, including the California Patriot Coalition, also gave substantial amounts to the campaign, totaling altogether to over seven figures in December alone.
“This is a lot like 2003,” added Schultz. “You know, the recall campaign was going, but it seemed to be stagnating. Then Issa kicked in a lot of cash, and, well, we got a Republican in in the end.
“This time around the circumstances are different. COVID-19 restrictions abound, and it’s not the energy crisis getting Californians mad, it’s business closures and housing concerns and the lockdowns. But it’s now following the path that all successful recalls have taken. They have a lot of pissed off people and now they have the cash to get the other half of the signatures needed, plus several hundred thousand extra as security.
“They have until March to get the signatures, but they can’t rely on signature gathering outside of places like grocery stores or political gatherings like years past. This will be primarily an online operation, at least for a few months, so expect to see a large increase of the recall petition presence.
“But the main point you should take away is that the Newson recall campaign now has the two elements all successful recall campaigns of the past have had. They just need to bring it all home now.”
Recall Gavin 2020, found here, and Rescue California, found here, has until March 10, 2021 to get the 1,495,709 signatures, or 12% of the total Gubernatorial vote in 2018, needed to advance to the ballot.
Editor’s note: The article was updated and corrected with the addition of Rescue California as the recipient of the December funding.