Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  Political Note #347 The Financial State of the States, Political Note #358 Laura Kelly Kansas Governor, Political Note #366 Tony Evers Wisconsin Governor, Political Note #381 Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Governor 

May 21, 2021.          Political Note #386  Gavin Newsom California Governor (The Recall)

2021                           Recall Election.

Why is today’s Note different from all other Notes.  There will be a gubernatorial election in California in 2022.  Well before that election,  there will be a recall election.

We know the recall election is coming, but we don’t know when.  We know there will be a lot of candidates, we don’t know who they will be.  People don’t call it an election, but that’s what it is. The pro-Governor Newsom, anti-recall website Stop the Republican Recall doesn’t mention Governor Newsom at all .  Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 reelection website does link to the Stop the Recall website.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom is against the field in the recall. This is a plebiscite.  California’s Governor Gavin Newsom:  Yes or No.  If the vote is no, it is those in the field against each other.

Here are some ways to consider this race:

Governor Gavin Newsom v Ex Rep Doug Ose

Governor Gavin Newsom v Ex Model Angelyne

Governor Gavin Newsom v Media Personality Mike Cernovich

Governor Gavin Newsom v Ex San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Governor Gavin Newsom v. Reality Television Star Caitlyn Jenner

Governor Gavin Newsom v 2018 candidate for Governor John Cox

Governor Gavin Newsom v Pastor and ex Tech Exec Sam Gallucci

Governor Gavin Newsom v Venture  capitalist Charnath Palihapitya

Governor Gavin Newsom v Ex Porn star and radio host Mary Carey

Governor Gavin Newsom v Ex Interim Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell

If the majority of voters on (oops, we don’t know when the recall will be) the day when the recall vote is held actually vote to recall the governor, then the candidate with the most votes for governor (Gavin Newsomcannot be on the list) will become California’s governor.

It is conceivable, but highly unlikely, that the recall election will be called off.  The Secretary of State has certified that enough signatures supporting the recall have been submitted.  Californians have the opportunity, for a month from the date of certification, to review the list and take their signature off the list if they wish. There is no sign that enough signatures have been withdrawn to cancel the recall.

One guess is that the Recall Election will be on the date of November elections in 2021 – November 2.  The candidates who will be running must submit their names (either through gathering enough signatures themselves or by paying a $4,000 fee) prior to 59 days before the Recall Election date when it is set.

In a recent poll, John Cox, who campaigned with a rented big bear for which he is being investigated by the Humane Society, and Douglas Faulconer, who flip flopped to support Donald Trump in 2020,  led the pack of contenders for governor with 22% of the vote. Ex Congressman and so-called “Hero of the taxpayers”  Doug Ose followed with 14% along with reality show figure Caitlyn Jenner at 6%.  If a majority of the voters support the recall and the vote reflects the current polls, John Cox or Douglas Faulconer would become Governor of California.

Why would Californians consider a recall seriously?

California had a successful recall just under 20 years ago.  In 2003, shortly after he began his second term as Governor, Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Davis had an excellent resume for a politician – BA Stanford, JD Columbia, attended public, Catholic and private schools, joined ROTC to pay for schooling at Stanford after his father left the family, and saw active duty in Vietnam.  The Vietnam War and the soldiers he fought with transformed his vision for himself and society. He intended to make a more egalitarian society by running for office.  His past affair with an actress gave him a touch of glamour as did his marriage to a flight attendant.

On his way to being elected governor, Gray Davis volunteered in John Tunney’s unsuccessful Senate campaign, worked to elect Tom Bradley mayor of Los Angeles, and served as Governor Jerry Brown’s chief of staff, He was elected to the state Assembly and then, in 1986, was elected State Controller.  In 1992, he lost the Democratic primary for US Senator to San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein, but was elected Lt. Governor in 1994.

Gray Davis was elected governor in 1998 after defeating two wealthy opponents with the slogan “Experience money can’t buy.”  He gained in popularity with liberal policies during his first term until he was faced with an electricity crisis and a budget crisis.  We now know that the shortage of electricity was a result of manipulations by Enron.  The budget crisis and consequent program cuts and increased taxes were a product of the dot com bust.

Davis made it through the election in 2002, using advertising aimed at Republicans to achieve a weaker and extremely conservative Republican opponent.  The recall was a different story.  Accused of welcoming migrants from Mexico, responsibility for the budget crisis and for the electricity crisis, his popularity dropped below 25%.  He ran against the recall rather than against the candidates who would replace him and never restored his popularity.  More than 55% of the voters favored the recall and Davis was out.

What about Gavin Newsom?  How does his experience compare with Gray Davis’s? After early years in a private Roman Catholic School, struggling with dyslexia, Gavin Newsom graduated from a public high school and Santa Clara University. It was not only the dyslexia that made his childhood a struggle.  His father, a state appeals court judge who also served as an attorney for Getty Oil, seems to have spent or given away all his money, leaving his wife to work several jobs to support the family.

Despite his financial straits Gavin Newsom gained the financial backing of Gordon Getty and, after college, built a small empire of 23 businesses. He was a volunteer for Willie Brown’s mayoral campaign in 1995.  In 1996, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown appointed him a Commissioner.  In 2003, at age 36, the year Gray Davis was recalled, Gavin Newsom was elected Mayor of San Francisco.  He was reelected in 2007 with 72% of the vote, elected Lt. Governor in 2010, and reelected in 2014, and elected governor in 2018.

Not unlike Gray Davis’s electricity crisis, Gavin Newsom faced a drought emergency.  He has declared 41 of the state’s 58 counties as having an emergency because of drought.  The drought creates another problem.  Californians can anticipate an even worse forest fire season than last year’s terrible season.

Unlike Gray Davis, Gavin Newsom has a surprise budget bonanza.  The pandemic seemed to promise a budget disaster requiring debilitating budget cuts, That disaster was dodged.  California’s economy was troubled, the state budget was not.  Members of the upper middle class worked remotely, got paid, and paid their taxes.  The stock market continued to rise and California collected taxes from capital gains.  Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan promised help for those parts of the economy that had been damaged.

California anticipates a $75 Billion surplus.  Gavin Newsom is considering a $100 Billion proposal to aid California’s recovery.  More than 10% of the plan would direct payments to people making less than $75,000 per year. California’s budget bonanza will protect him from the kind of politically debilitating spending cuts that Gray Davis could not escape .In May 2020, as Gavin Newsom worked to deal with the pandemic, polls found him with a 67% job approval rating.  California did not have an easy time dealing with Covid-19.  By January, 2021, Gavin Newsom’s job approval rating was down to 51%.  He had compounded the problems related to fighting the disease with a couple of bad political decisions.  On November 6, 2020, he went to a birthday party at a fancy restaurant.  Throughout California, at his urging and at the urging of the state health department and local health departments, people had been cancelling parties.  They had been told to avoid groups with people from more than three households and to wear masks.  Pictures of Gavin Newsom and his wife at a Napa Valley restaurant birthday party made Californians angry.

The proponents of recalling Gavin Newsom had to collect the necessary signatures by November 17.  The pandemic made signature collection difficult.  By late October, it was clear no one was collecting signatures equal to 12% of the last gubernatorial election’s vote to meet recall requirements.  One hundred sixty days was just not enough to collect the required number of signatures during a pandemic.  On November 16, Judge James R. Arguellas granted an additional 120 days for collecting signatures.  The Secretary of State’s office argued against, but did not appeal the extension decision.  The Governor’s office did not appear to be particularly exercised about the extension and did not participate in the legal conversation.

The additional 120 days were sufficient to collect the required number of signatures.  In late April, the Secretary of State’s office certified that enough signatures had been submitted.  Californians had thirty days to withdraw their signatures.  After that, there is an obligatory cost analysis and a review and comment period before final certification after which the Lt. Governor sets the election date.

Gavin Newsom’s can choose to wait to address the recall until it is definite or  organize to oppose it.  He has found it difficult to treat the recall as if it were an election campaign.  He says and, in fact, he has been busy dealing with the pandemic and other difficult issues relating to governing. He is dismissive of the retired county sheriff’s sergeant who organized the recall.  Gavin Newsom has noted that the sergeant once proposed microchipping all illegal immigrants to keep track of them.  (Consider this a reminder that the immigration issue is as alive in 2021 just as it was in 2003).

What about Gavin Newsom’s achievements?  As is often the case with politicians in office, achievements have more to do with what has been thrust upon him.

He had three high level appointments to make and, with those appointments, sustained the diversity of California’s leadership.

  • He replaced US Senator Kamala Harris with Secretary of State Alex Padilla. In a state that is 36.6% non-Hispanic white and 39.3% Hispanic, Padilla was the highest-ranking Hispanic politician.  A former President of the Los Angeles City Council and State Senator, child of immigrants from Mexico, and an engineer who had graduated from MIT, he was elected Secretary of State in 2014.  An uncontroversial figure, his appointment by Gavin Newsom made him the first Mexican-American and first Hispanic Senator from California.
  • Gavin Newsom appointed a 72 year-old African American, Shirley Weber as the new Secretary of State. Born in Hope, Arkansas (Bill Clinton’s home town), her family moved to Los Angeles where she was raised.  A retired professor of African-American Studies from San Diego State University, she has her BA, MA, and PhD from UCLA.
  • Gavin Newsom had another appointment opportunity when Xavier Becerra, the California Attorney General, became Joe Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. Gavin Newsom’s new appointee was Rob Bonta.  Asians (though certainly not a unified group) are, at 13.8% of California’s population, the state’s third largest ethnic group.  Rob Bonta was born a US citizen in the Philippines.  His father was a US citizen.  The family moved to California shortly after Rob Bonta was born, lived in a trailer near the UFW headquarters, then moved to near Sacramento.  He was valedictorian of his high school class, earned a BA and JD at Yale and an MPhil at Oxford.  He served on the Alameda City Council and in  the California Assembly where he headed the Asia and Pacific caucus.  He is the first Filipino-American to serve as California’s Attorney General and the second Asian-American after Kamala Harris.

Gavin Newsom’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic affected the lives of every Californian.  It was not an unqualified success. With a Covid-19 death rate of 158 per person, California is 27th highest among the 50 states.

On March 4, 2020, Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and spent the next two weeks with preparation.   Prior to March 19, 2020 localities were encouraged were given discretion, while caution was encouraged.   On March 19, Gavin Newsom ordered people to stay at home.

On April 28, 2020, with several emergency orders, Gavin Newsom outlined a plan to reopen based on conditions on the ground rather than specific dates. In May, he began a part of the first phase of reopening and broadened authority to allow local authorities greater decision-making.  By June, hospitalizations had increased substantially. At the end of the month, he ordered a return to shutdowns for seven counties.

He generated bad publicity for himself in connection with the party he attended in November.  His inaction allowed recall movement to get an extension of time to collect signatures.    In January, 2021, he was criticized for his inability to stop fraudulent unemployment claims and his inability to get legitimate claims out quickly enough.  His inability to get the vaccination program to reach a wide population quixkly provided a further basis for his opponents to actually make something of the recall.

Gavin Newsom has finally encouraged some long-time supporters to start an opposition effort.  In a recent poll, 56% said they would vote “no” on recall, 40% said they would vote “yes.”  A lot of money will be spent to support the recall. Unlike an actual election campaign, there are no limits to the contributions that can be made.

Spend some money yourself to oppose the recall.   The pro-Governor Newsom, anti-recall website Stop the Republican Recall may not mention Governor Newsom It is, however, the website we’ve got.  Give to avoid a cataclysm.  California in the hands of John Cox or Douglas Faulconer is not a pretty picture, though slightly more appealing than California in the hands of Caitlyn Jenner.

The Cook Report projects the following Democratic governors as Likely, or Leaning Democrat for 2022 rather than as Solidly Democratic.

 Kansas          Laura Kelly (Lean D)

Maine             Janet Mills (Likely D)

Michigan       Gretchen Whitmer (Lean D)

Minnesota    Tim Walz (Likely D)

Nevada          Steve Sisolak (Likely D)

Wisconsin    Tony Evers (Lean D)

 Cook thinks Pennsylvania is a Toss up.  The Democratic governor is term limited.  We won’t know who the Democratic candidate will be for a while.

Cook thinks Virginia, where the election is in November, 2021 is Likely D.  The Virginia governor is also term limited.  The June primary is packed with Democratic candidates.

 Organizations to support

 The Democratic Governors Association (DGA)  …the only organization dedicated to electing Democratic governors and candidates for governor

 The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

 Three Cautions while donating through Act Blue (most Democratic candidates use Act Blue for online donations)

  1. Take care to hit the donate button only once. If you hit it a second time, you could be charged for two donations instead of one.
  2. Take care to watch for an already clicked recurring donation. You can unclick it and donate only once if that is your intent.
  3. Watch for your receipt. If the receipt indicates a donation different from your intention, reply to Act Blue via the receipt right away.  They will fix your donation.  They want you to donate only what you intend to donate.

 A Special Election Coming Up

On June 1, Melanie Stansbury will be running to replace Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in Congress, in NM 01.  Melanie Stansbury has moved from sociology doctorate program to advocating for expanding access to medical care and ending access to assault weapons.  A New Mexico State Rep, she had to work hard to obtain the Democratic nomination.  Do some work for her or give some money to her to ensure her election.  The special election is on June 1.

A Special Interest of Mine

New York City has its own small-town politics.   Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 3rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

If you live in Part A of State Assembly District 76 in New York, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 22 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in Part A of Assembly District 76, please encourage them to vote for her.

Our club and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four District Leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.

You can learn more about Rebecca Weintraub at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram /RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook /VoteRebeccaWeintraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for.