Gavin Newsom Stays: California Recall Fails

The Story:

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) defeated, and by a wide margin, an effort to remove him from that position with the vote Tuesday, September 14.


The racall ballot asked state voters two questions: Should the governor be recalled? And if so, who should be the new governor? Since the majority of voters said “no” to the first question, the second became moot. Had they voted “yes” on the first, then the challenger with the most votes would have become the new governor.

California is one of 20 states that allow for the recall of executive officials.

Most efforts at recall fizzle out at the petition stage. Only one such effort before this year had ever reached the point of a contested election in the state. (That was the recall of Governor Gray Davis in 2003 — it successfully removed Davis and put body builder/movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger in office.)

The Thing to Know:

Newsom dug a hole for himself by his reaction to the Covid-19 crisis. Early on in the pandemic he issued one of the most sweeping stay-at-home orders in the country. But he didn’t live by it himself. Last November he attended a party for a lobbyist and political advisor, held at a Michelin 3-star restaurant, where more than three families were in attendance. It was not the rule against such gatherings so much as the apparent hypocrisy of his behavior that galvanized opposition.

Nonetheless, his tenure has survived it.

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