Democrats Join Recall Effort Against Gavin Newsom in California

Chamath Palihapitiya (Brian Ach / Getty)
Brian Ach / Getty

Some Democrats are beginning to support a recall effort aimed at incumbent California Gov. Gavin Newsom, with left-wing billionaire mega-donor Chamath Palihapitiya jumping into the race this week.

Newsom enjoyed 59% approval from likely voters in California, as of a December survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. Yet he has come under increasing criticism for statewide coronavirus restrictions — while he and others have been caught dining at fancy restaurants.

A recall effort, launched last year, has until March 17 to gather 1.5 million valid signatures from registered California voters. Proponents claim that they have already collected 1.2 million of the required signatures, with seven weeks to go.

One a recall election is declared, voters will face two questions: first, whether Newsom should be recalled; second, a list of candidates to replace him. If a majority wants him recalled, then the candidate with the highest votes will take his place.

At least one Republican, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, is backing the recall effort against Newsom, and is likely to be a candidate. He is a “Never Trump” Republican who said in 2016 that he could not vote for Trump, and also opposed a border wall.

But as the San Francisco Chronicle noted last year, some Democrats are also sensing opportunity:

The recall effort provides an opportunity for Democrats to replace Newsom while avoiding a Republican governor.

In the last two years, Newsom has drawn the ire of progressives over inaction on health care and other leftist policy goals despite Democrats holding large majorities in the state legislature. Could Bay Area Rep. Ro Khanna or former State Senate President pro tem Kevin de León (who ran for Senate in 2018) be among those “kicking the tires?”

Palihapitiya, the CEO of venture capital firm Social Capital, gave more than $1 million to Democrats in the last election — including $250,000 to the Biden Victory Fund. He has launched a website highlighting a mix of policies, promising to cut state taxes to 0% and offering school vouchers, among other pledges.

Notably, Palihapitiya is an enthusiastic proponent of “cancel culture,” telling CNBC in 2016 that he would kick a conservative like Peter Thiel off the board of his company, if Thiel held such a position. He has also tweeted that he “love[s]” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and that he would support her candidacy for president one day.

Other Democrats could enter the race — and there may even be room for a Trump-supporting Republican to run.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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