On Thursday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced that it would be giving $250,000 towards the recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom.
The quarter-million dollar investment marks the first time that the national party has given money to the recall push, coming in roughly one month before the signature deadline on March 10th.
The RNC chose to give the funds following weeks of record-setting signature gathering, the recall organizations passing the milestone of 1.5 million signatures, and prominent Democrats such as President Joe Biden formally coming out against Newsom’s recall. In a statement on Thursday, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel noted that Governor Newsom had overreached his authority as Governor and mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic in California, necessitating his removal from office.
“Gov. Newsom’s authoritarian measures, blatant overreach and complete mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven that he is woefully unqualified to lead the state of California,” explained Chairwoman McDaniel. “It is time the people use their constitutional recourse to remove him from power.”
The RNC’s donation will push the total raised towards the recall along with Newsom recall groups such as the California Patriot Coalition and Rescue California to nearly $4 million, with the the GOP national party now the second largest donor overall behind the Irvine-based consultancy service Prov 3:9 LLC, who had donated $500,000 in December. Other prominent donors, such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, have also given substantial donations to the effort, with other GOP donors likely following suit as the deadline approaches.
The recall campaign expects the support from the RNC to help carry it to the current goal of 1.8 signatures by March 10th. The California Patriot Coalition and Rescue California noted this week that they are now over 1.5 million signatures and will likely have 1.6 million by the end of the weekend.
Supporters note that the investment into the recall campaign by the national party shows that the GOP now believes that the petition will succeed and that Newsom will have to face a recall election later this year.
“That the RNC is even thinking about entering this is even more proof positive that it’s even past picking up steam,” said Rescue California campaign manager Anne Dunsmore. “It’s inevitable the recall will qualify and is one of the most important items on the national political scene this year.”
The all-but-certain 2021 California Governor recall election
With no major House or Senate races outside of possible special elections scheduled this year, and only the New Jersey and West Virginia gubernatorial races currently scheduled for state elections, the California Governor recall election would likely become the largest race of the year, similar to the 2003 recall election in which Democratic Governor Gray Davis was ousted in favor of Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.
While the prime reason for the RNC’s donation is to recall Governor Newsom, the RNC also said that the donation would help test the waters in preparation for the 2022 midterm elections. As the recall election would draw significant resources from both parties, the RNC hopes to shore up a large volunteer contingent to help retake even more House seats from the Democrats in California following the 2020 election in which they took three back, including two highly contested seats in Orange County. The donation and recall will also help Republican candidates test the gubernatorial waters for 2022 in case Newsom beats the recall later this year. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox have already announced their intention to run for Governor in either 2021 or 2022, with others such as former Congressman Doug Ose and several state-level politicians expected to possibly jump in the race once enough signatures are verified.
“With the RNC coming in, it’s all but assured that there will be a recall election this year,” former lobbyist Harry Schultz explained to the Globe. “Newsom still has more popularity than Gray Davis had back in ’03, but it’s sinking fast. A lot of GOP candidates also want their names out there for recognition now in case a bigger names shows up later. I mean, we all remember how well Congressman [Tom] McClintock (R-CA) was doing in 2003 until Arnie came in and took most of the Republican votes and Centrist votes with him to win based largely on his name and star power. So the GOP, the state GOP, the candidates, party members who want the recall – they all benefit from this. The Democrats surely don’t because now they will have a big money sink this fall in the recall election, as well as Newsom losing face over this. If 1.5 million are counted in time and verified, the recall movement, at the very least, will sink all presidential aspirations he had. No matter how far this goes, the GOP will win something, so you can see why the RNC was so keen to donate today.”