James Mcoy, a poll worker, stands outside a poll center to guide voters inside in El Cerrito on Sept. 14, 2021. (Sabita Shrestha / Golden Gate Xpress) (Sabita Shrestha)
James Mcoy, a poll worker, stands outside a poll center to guide voters inside in El Cerrito on Sept. 14, 2021. (Sabita Shrestha / Golden Gate Xpress)

Sabita Shrestha

Newsom faces recall in special election

California Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a possible recall as voters cast ballots in the GOP-led election

September 14, 2021

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UPDATE: 10:03 p.m.

San Francisco County voters are overwhelmingly voting No, 87%, on the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom with 67.9% of precincts reporting. Although the California Secretary of State only has 51% of precincts reported, other counties have such as Los Angeles County, have 100% in. According to the Secretary of State, Los Angeles County 73% to 26% no in recall, however these numbers are expected to change as mail-in, provisional and other ballots are expected to be counted in the next few days.

Although early returns show most of the State voting no, several counties are reporting to recall the governor. Mariposa County, 100% reporting, is a close race with 59% in favor of replacing Newsom and 40% against. In that county, Republican frontrunner and conservative radio host, Larry Elder, received 61.8% of votes with no other candidates breaking more than 6%.

UPDATE: 9:15 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom gave a speech to supporters in Sacramento after CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and other outlets called the recall in his favor.

“I am humbled and grateful to millions and millions if Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and express themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division,” Newsom said. “By rejecting the cynicism, by rejecting so much of negativity that has defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years.”

Golden Gate Xpress is not calling the election at this time. According to the California Secretary of State, with 34% of precincts reporting, Newsom is winning the recall with 67% No and 33% Yes.

UPDATE: 8:32 p.m.

Polls across California have closed for the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom. According to the California Secretary of State, early results show 68.2% of counted voters chose not to recall the governor, while 31.8% voted. These results however are early returns with only 16.7% or precincts reporting.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a possible recall today as voters decide whether or not to replace the first-term governor or allow him to complete his term

Newsom, who previously served as state attorney general and mayor of San Francisco, has faced harsh criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rates, homelessness and a scandal at an upscale restaurant.

Voters who received their ballots by mail were asked: “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled from the office of governor?” Voters could then select one of 46 candidates to replace him.

Voting “No” indicates that a voter does not want to recall Newsom, and a “Yes” is in favor of the recall. Those who vote “No” are still able to vote for a candidate to replace Newsom should he be recalled.

[Polling location in San Francisco]

Although the recall does not have majority support, there is still a chance Newsom could be replaced.

According to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California, 58% of likely voters said they would vote no to recall Newsom, with 39% of respondents saying they would vote yes.

The recall, which lists 46 candidates, began in 2020 when retired Yolo sheriff sergeant, Orrin Heatlie, and 125 others began circulating the petition to remove Newsom, according to the California Secretary of State website.

The petitioners had 160 days to gather the required number of signatures, nearly 1.5 million. However, due to the COVID-19 the deadline originally set for November 17, 2020, was extended to March 17 of this year.

“Given the extraordinary world of 2020, even into 2021, I think making an exception in the case of a generational pandemic is appropriate because California and its constitution values direct democracy, values citizen democracy,” said Rebecca Eissler, an SF State professor who teaches American politics, focusing on congress and the presidency.

On April 26, California Secretary of State Shirly N. Weber confirmed that Orrin and his team had passed the threshold needed to begin the recall. 

Since the recall, Newsom has sought the help of prominent democrats, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, to help ensure a victory. 

According to data from the California Secretary of State published by CalMatters, supporters of the recall have raised roughly $13.9 million compared to the nearly $70.9 million raised by opponents. 

“I voted no on the recall,” said Eli Brown, 40, a fourth-year SF State student. “I don’t think he’s doing a bad job, at least not enough to be recalled. Also, there’s an election in less than about a year. So why were you spending all these millions of dollars when there’s an election about to happen?”

The only successful California recall took place back in 2003 when the state voted to recall former Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

California has a low signature threshold, requiring only 12% of the last vote for office, according to Jason McDaniel, an SF State political science associate professor. 

“There have been lots of petitions to recall here in California that never gained enough signatures. This one, I think, did because of the moment with COVID,” Eissler said. 

Eissler believes that the bipartisanship in the U.S. has certainly impacted the decision to go forward with the recall election. She also said she has already heard claims from republicans that this election is rigged. 

“This is a dangerous dysfunction of the Republican Party, and it’s clearly caused by Trump. Trump did this in 2016, as well, he was discounting it before it happened in the U.S.,” McDaniel said.

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About the Contributors
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Albert Serna Jr.
Albert Serna Jr. is a queer Chicano journalist from the San Gabriel Valley outside of Los Angeles. He is a senior print/online major and has been reporting in some way, shape or form for about 13 years. He most recently wrote for the Boyle Heights Beat in in L.A. where he covered crime, but has been published in the Huffington Post and WeHo Times. He has a passion for investigative reporting and longform journalism and is always ready for a tip. He married his husband in March this this year and has two dogs and a cat.
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Albert Gregory
Albert is the multimedia editor and a fourth-year print/online journalism student at SF State. He is a freelance writer/photographer, and his work has appeared in The Press Democrat and USA Today. Albert was born in Portland, Oregon, but grew up a military brat on a Coast Guard base in Novato, California. He currently lives in Sonoma County.
Photo of Sabita Shrestha
Sabita Shrestha
Sabita Shrestha is the Xpress visuals editor for Spring 2022. She is finishing her last semester at SF State with a major in Photojournalism and minor in Labor Studies. Originally from Nepal, Shrestha came in the U.S. for an undergraduate degree in 2016 and transferred to SF State in 2019. Apart from student life, she enjoys reading, hiking, and having days off.

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    Shava NeradSep 14, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Hmm… this does not seem to be “live,” as of 4:11pm on Tuesday. There is no new information.