LOS ANGELES — At this weekend’s annual California Democratic Party Convention, Democrats sharpened their message to support Gov. Gavin Newsom in the midst of recall efforts.

Vice President Kamala Harris ensured that both she and President Joe Biden back Newsom.

What You Need To Know

  • Democrats sharpened their message to support Gov. Gavin Newsom

  • Vice President Kamala Harris ensured she and President Joe Biden back Newsom

  • Republicans, meanwhile, are celebrating having successfully gathered enough valid signatures to add the recall to this year’s ballot

  • Committees will evaluate the cost of the special election once the signature process is complete in June

“I’ve seen firsthand what a leader he is and how he really does put his heart into his work on behalf of the people of California,” Harris said.

Republicans, meanwhile, are celebrating successfully gathering enough valid signatures to add the recall to this year’s ballot. The California Secretary of State’s office has said that organizers — like California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Patterson — gathered more than the 1.5 million signatures they needed for the petition.

“You as an individual have the opportunity to go out there and help us recall this governor,” Patterson said at a March recall rally.

Patterson noted that the governor failed to get students back in school and unnecessarily shut down businesses amid the pandemic.

“Almost 20,000 businesses have had to close their doors permanently because of the actions that this governor took,” she added.

But lawmakers like Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, have said the governor followed the science to ensure Californians stayed safe and distanced to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“I think this recall is stupid,” Lieu said. “And if you look at what's happening in California, under Gavin Newsom’s leadership, California has the lowest case positivity rate in an account of the United States. That is quite remarkable for a state the size of California.”

Right now, the state’s latest seven-date rate of new cases shows California is indeed the lowest in the U.S. There are 40.3 cases per 100,000 people, which is lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3. There are also .06 deaths per 100,000 people in the state.

Patterson, however, said California didn’t need all the restrictions and even compared the state with Florida, which has had a similar COVID-19 death rate with fewer restrictions. Some lawmakers point out there are many variables to consider, including housing density — the number of people in one home.

Democrats stand united behind Newsom and have said that a change in leadership will roll back progress on immigration, health care, criminal justice reform, climate and housing.

"I am loud and clearly against the recall and in support of Gov. Gavin Newsom," said Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif. "Now [Republicans are] holding Gov. Newsom accountable for Donald Trump's failure to lead on the very outset of the pandemic. Give me a break."

It will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to hold a recall election, rather than just waiting for the 2022 election, but Patterson noted that Californians shouldn’t have to wait another day.

“This is a movement,” she said. “People are fired up. They’re excited. They’re going to be knocking on doors. They’re going to be making phone calls. They’re going to be sending text messages, and we’re going to turn out the vote.”

There are several people and even celebrities running to replace Newsom, including reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. Patterson said she’s readying to find a candidate Republicans can support.

At the convention, Newsom painted this recall as a partisan effort. He stated that Republicans are attempting a power grab and that he wouldn’t let them "win." The governor now has just under 30 days to persuade people to withdraw their signatures. The deadline for the process comes in early June. At that point, which is when the petition is likely to be approved, a series of committees will evaluate the cost of the special election.

On the ballot, which is expected in November, voters will see two questions. The first is whether voters want to recall the governor. If more than 50% of voters vote "no," then Newsom stays in office. In the second part, voters are asked to pick a replacement, which will likely have a long list of Republicans to choose from. It’s unlikely another prominent Democrat will add their name to the list.

An Emerson College poll in mid-March showed 42% of people would keep Newsom in office. But not far behind, 38% of people said they would vote to remove him. The rest are either undecided or said they would vote in the recall.