The official proponents of a campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom from office said Thursday that they’ve collected more than 1 million signatures.
“The people are being heard loud and clear, and it is not a matter of IF we are going to reach our goal necessary that will trigger a recall election of Newsom, it is just when we cross the finish line,” said Orrin Heatlie, a former Yolo County sheriff’s deputy who filed the recall petition, in a statement.
The milestone marks the approximate halfway point toward qualifying the petitions and forcing a recall election, which would potentially take place in late 2021 or early 2022.
The campaign must submit about 1.5 million valid signatures of registered voters to county elections officials by March 17. Proponents hope to present around 2 million raw signatures to account for those rejected during the review process.
Supporters of the recall have been gathering signatures since the summer, but momentum surged late last year.
In November, Newsom was seen dining with a large group at the posh French Laundry restaurant in Napa County, despite his own warnings against mixing households. The outing generated howls of criticism and cries of hypocrisy.
California is also facing its most severe surge of COVID-19, with intensive care capacity stretched thin, many businesses forced to once again close their doors, and a continuation of remote learning in schools, all of which are stoking anger and frustration.
Republican officials in California have begun coalescing behind the recall effort.
Last week, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted his support for the recall campaign – days before announcing the launch of an exploratory committee to run against Newsom for governor in 2022.
"It’s a new year. We need a new governor,” Faulconer wrote. "Jobs are leaving, homelessness is skyrocketing, and the state can’t even issue unemployment checks to people struggling right now to get by.”