California has featured in national headlines multiple times over the last few years. Between multiple environmental and natural disasters, the crisis of immigration and the southern border, rising crime, and other political issues, a week has not passed without the mention of the Golden State in one way, shape, or form.

California as a Headliner

California features prominently in national headlines for multiple reasons, beyond simply those listed above. It’s one of the largest states in the United States, and its economy is enormous. If California were a country in its own right, its economy would be the fourth largest in the world.

Source: Wikimedia/David Ball

Such significant amounts of money coming, going, and being spent over the courses of the year, understandably, draws attention. Especially in a country whose function relies on capitalism like America, the amount of money that California brings in via taxes and other revenue makes it an understandable target for attention.

Liberal Policies Create News Fodder

Additionally, the fact that California is a deeply liberal state in a country whose politics are so sharply divided by ideology makes for a good deal of conversational and political fodder. Liberals look to California for examples of what can be done with decisive liberal leadership, and conservatives watch for the slightest hint of failure.

Source: Wikimedia/The United States Senate – Office of Senator Martha McSally

This attention has made the California government a particular focus of many interest groups and news networks. Governor Gavin Newsom is particularly vulnerable to attention from these groups, as the man who advocates for local and statewide policy and has the pen and power to make these changes happen.

Gavin Newsom: An Old Hat At Politics

Gavin Newsom is no stranger to politics. He was first elected to the governor’s office in California in 2019 ahead of the 2020 pandemic, and before then he was the Lieutenant Governor starting in 2011.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of California

Newsom’s governorship started in a big way with the COVID-19 pandemic, and he quickly became the figure that many used to discuss the pandemic and policies surrounding it. California’s policies surrounding COVID-19 were some of the strictest in the country as far as mask wearing and stay-at-home policies, and many compared the results of these policies to more relaxed policies from states like Florida and Texas.

Newsom’s First Recall Attempt

Understandably, despite the dire situation that COVID created for such a large and diverse state such as California, there were many that were upset about the strictness of Newsom’s policies. Discontent around his leadership was strong before and during the pandemic, and in 2021, this discontent led to an attempted recall effort from a conservative interest group.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of the California Governor

California law allows for voters to recall an elected official should enough signatures for the recall be gathered from the public. It was introduced in 1911 alongside the ballot initiative and women’s suffrage in 1911, and was a democratic reform that was intended to reduce corruption.

Multiple Recall Attempts Against Newsom

During Newsom’s tenure as governor, there have been seven recall petitions that have been launched against him. In February of 2020, a petition was served to Newsom that would ultimately lead to the first successful recall election against him.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of California

The reasoning behind this first recall attempt had a variety of grievances listed, including sanctuary policies, homelessness, high taxes, and water rationing. This recall campaign coincided with the discontent that COVID policies created, which, though it wasn’t the catalyst for the recall attempt, certainly did Newsom no favors.

California Recall Rules

California state law requires 12 percent of voter’s valid signatures in order to trigger a recall election, and the recall petition resulted in 13.8% valid signatures. The recall election was held several months later, in September of 2021, with two questions on the ballot: whether Newsom should be recalled, and who should ultimately replace him if he was.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of the Governor of California

This first recall attempt gained national notoriety. Many perceived it as a deliberately political attack against a liberal governor who was attempting to champion progressive policies, and Newsom himself warned that the recall attempt would do nothing other than create a costly election for taxpayers.

Newsom Defeated the Opposition Handily

Ultimately, Newsom was proven correct. Despite the amount of campaigning that was done both for and against the recall, Newsom was not removed from office. He won the recall attempt with a handy 61% of the vote, allowing him to keep the governorship.

Source: Wikimedia/California Office of the Governor

Newsom keeping his job is noteworthy for a few reasons. There have only been four gubernatorial recall elections in United States history, and prior to the 2021 recall attempt of Newsom, the last recall election resulted in the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the governorship in 2003.

Newsom Facing Yet Another Recall Attempt

This was not the end of the controversy that would surround Newsom and his governorship, either. As the years have gone on, he has continued to be criticized for his policies surrounding immigration, the homelessness crisis, minimum wage, and more.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of California

Unfortunately for Newsom, the criticism against him has, once again resulted in an attempt at recalling him from the governorship. This new recall attempt is from Rescue California, which is the same organization that tried and failed to recall Newsom from the gubernatorial seat in 2021.

Reasons Behind the Current Recall

The reasoning given behind the current recall attempt cited rising crime and the state’s growing budget deficit as the motivation behind the long-shot attempt at recalling the governor. The group also accused Newsom of being too distracted by current presidential politics to be effective in running the government of California.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of California

While it is true that Newsom has been making the rounds on news networks regarding President Biden’s current bid for reelection, it has not impacted his focus on his home state. Newsom has been actively working on various local issues including the homelessness crisis and the influx of immigrants to the state, despite what Rescue California has claimed.

Statements from Both Parties

In a statement, Rescue California’s political strategist Anne Hyde Dunsmore said, “This man knows his political game like the back of his hand. He is not a novice, he is an expert at pivoting, twisting, never really going over the line with lying, but he is deceptive and he is carrying that onto a national stage.”

Source: Twitter/X/GavinNewsom

Newsom posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to the announcement of the new recall attempt against him. “Trump Republicans are launching another wasteful recall campaign to distract us from the existential fight for democracy and reproductive freedom. We will defeat them.”

Voter Discontent in California

Rescue California is betting on voter discontent surrounding the state’s annual budget deficit to drive motivation for the current recall effort. They claim that Newsom is hiding the true extent of the deficit, which the state Legislative Analyst’s Office has projected at $73 billion.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of California

The group has also criticized California policy of granting health benefits to undocumented immigrants, which went into effect in January of this year. They argue that heavy spending on curbing homelessness and other social issues hasn’t been effective, and that it’s time for new leadership who will take a different approach to these various issues.

Newsom Seems Unbothered

Strategists for Newsom and the governor himself don’t seem to be too concerned about this current recall effort. In order for the effort to be successful, the campaign will need to gather 1.5 million valid signatures by November, which is a steep ask for a long-shot campaign like this one.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of the Governor of California

Additionally, Newsom handily won his reelection bid for governor in 2022. His popularity with liberals and most moderates has led to Newsom being able to push through significant policy adjustments for the state, and has led to rumors of a presidential run in 2028.

Waiting for Results with Bated Breath

It’s likely that this attempt at recalling Newsom will end the same way many of the attempts prior to it have: unsuccessfully. Despite that, Rescue California appears determined in their efforts to see this through, even if it ultimately doesn’t pan out in their favor.

Source: Wikimedia/Matt Baume

The recall attempt, like the others before it, has opened up yet another conversation around California policies and the way they affect national politics. Newsom will face down the challenge the same way that he has all the others before it, and it’s likely that the governor will, yet again, come out on top.