Newsom recall effort meets verified signature threshold, California Secretary of State says

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Organizers of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, state election officials said Monday, likely triggering just the second such election in state history.

California's secretary of state said that 1.6 million valid signatures had been verified, some 100,000 more than were needed.

The recall against Newsom, a first-term Democrat seen as a possible White House hopeful someday, will be among the highest-profile political races in the country this year.

Among the opponents he may face are reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. If a majority say "yes", he will be out of office, and voters' answer to the second question - Who should replace him? - will determine the next governor.

In a tweet, Mr Newsom said the recall "threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress we've made".

There's too much at stake. It's the only other recall of a California governor to qualify for the ballot.

In 2003, voters recalled Democratic Governor Gray Davis and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ms Jenner, a former Olympic athlete and a transgender celebrity, will be hoping for a similar result when she contests the next election as a Republican in the state.

A campaign to recall Mr Newsom was launched by a conservative political group called the California Patriot Coalition in February 2020.

The recall drive began in June 2020, and a court extended the deadline for collecting signatures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom's woes started in November when he was caught dining out at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant for a lobbyist's birthday as he told Californians to avoid gatherings, reinforcing perceptions that he is out of touch with people.

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He apologised for failing to "preach and practise" Covid-19 rules he imposed. He and other Republicans were also frustrated by many of Newsom's liberal policy decisions.

If the recall election is held, voters would face two questions on the ballot: whether to remove Newsom from office and who should replace him.

Unless significant numbers of those people rescind their signatures in the next 30 days, a vote will take place, likely by November.

Under California law, the number of signatures calling for a recall vote must equal 12% of the number of votes cast in the previous election for that office.

The only time a California petition succeeded in forcing a gubernatorial recall election was in 2003, when Democratic Gov.

What reaction has there been?

Bill Burton, a former spokesman for President Barack Obama who lives in Southern California, said Democrats nationally have hammered a "follow the science" message when many are more anxious about getting their kids back in school and reopening their businesses.

If enough signatures stand, the state finance department and the legislature have about two more months to debate the cost of the recall.

The poll revealed that just 31 percent of respondents felt Newsom and other state government leaders had done an excellent or good job, 23 percent said they'd done a fair job, while 43 percent said it was a poor job.

To Republicans, the recall was a cause for celebration.

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