The effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom has collected 1.2 million signatures of the 1.5 million needed by March.
“Californians are hurting, and we’ve had a dramatic failure of leadership from the governor,” said Kevin Faulconer, a former San Diego mayor. “The governor’s actions are harming lives and livelihoods, people are at their wits’ end, and they want to do something about it.”
If the effort collects the 1.5 million signatures by March 17, the issue will then head to residents for a vote.
Rescue CA set a goal to collect 2 million signatures because the secretary of state has confirmed only 84% of the collected signatures are valid.
The recall effort is fueled by Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus, including when he was seen socializing with a large group in a swanky French restaurant while not wearing a mask in November.
California has had only one successful gubernatorial recall effort in its history, when voters replaced Democratic Gov. Gray Davis with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 over the mismanagement of the state's finances.
Newsom lifted the state’s stay-at-home order on Monday after months of some of the strictest virus restrictions in the country.
"We are in a position, projecting four weeks forward, with a significant decline in the case rates, positivity rates — we are anticipating decline, still more decline, in hospitalizations and more declines in ICUs. And that's why we are lifting that stay-at-home order effective immediately today," he said.
However, he denied that move was due to the growing recall effort.
"Complete, utter nonsense," he said.
The recall effort also comes as California wades through claims of fraud via unemployment benefits that went out during the coronavirus.
As much as $31 billion in unemployment funds may have been sent to fraudsters, up from the $10 billion estimated earlier this month.
"There is no sugar-coating the reality: California did not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud," Secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Julie Su said.
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