NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Signed petitions continue to pour into the Newport Beach office of Rescue California, where Anne Hyde Dunsmore is leading the local effort to get Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office. 

“The energy is palpable. It’s been huge. It’s been exciting,” Dunsmore said. “This is a citizen’s movement, and the citizens are now being heard. He’s hearing it.”

What You Need To Know

  • Rescue California is acquiring signatures at the rate of 150,000 per week, according to organizers

  • The recall effort has hit 1.5 million signatures, but it plans to turn in 2 million by the March 17 deadline

  • National Republicans are diving into the recall effort by partnering with the California GOP

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom did not respond to requests for comment on the recall

The recall effort recently hit a significant benchmark, announcing 1.5 million signatures acquired. That is precisely the number needed to get the recall on the ballot — but Dunsmore said they’re not done collecting signatures yet. 

All petitions need to be validated by county registrars, and Dunsmore said only about 82-84% of them get the final green light due to errors on the forms or even something like using the wrong pen color. 

“Our goal is to also have a shenanigan buffer, and we’re going to try to get two million in time for the turn in,” Dunsmore said, adding that she’s confident the movement will hit that number within two to three weeks. 

In a random sample of petitions, Rescue California found that 66% of forms were from registered Republicans, 22% from no-party affiliation voters, and almost 10% were from registered Democrats. 

National Republicans are now also diving into the recall effort, partnering with the California Republican Party and investing at least $200,000 on a digital and text program encouraging Californians to sign the petition. 

Meanwhile, challengers are already launching campaigns, including Republican businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Dunsmore expects to see more names in the coming weeks and months. She said the recall effort has tapped into a collective frustration felt by many over the closures of schools and businesses, job losses, and billions of dollars of EDD fraud. 

“To have COVID jobless benefits evaporate, if that were a company, someone would have been fired,” Dunsmore said. 

On Friday, Newsom visited a Bay Area vaccination site but didn’t address the recall. Spectrum News 1 asked his team for a statement and never heard back. 

“It’s not something he should feel good about at all. And he has nothing to gain by talking about it,” Dunsmore said. 

And even though her team of signature counters isn’t setting off celebratory fireworks yet, Dunsmore said a recall election has gone from probable to inevitable.