SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his third State of the State address on Tuesday, while elsewhere, leaders from the campaign to recall him claimed they now have enough signatures to spark a special election.
Orrin Heatlie, an organizer for the recall movement, has been campaigning and holding rallies across the state to gather signatures since last June.
“Gavin is ignoring this recall just like he’s ignoring the homeless problem in our state hoping that it will go away on its own,” Heatlie said, adding that the recall has received 1.9 million signatures so far, but that the Secretary of State’s office has yet to verify all of them.
Heatlie believes the governor is beginning to feel the pressure of the movement, with thousands of Californians on both sides of the aisle having signed on to support the campaign.
“I think he’s back on the campaign trail, I think he feels the heat and I think he knows that he’s been absent,” said Heatlie.
In February, Newsom made more than 10 trips up and down the state, visiting several vaccination sites and small businesses. He signed the school reopening bill on Friday, March 5 and is now allowing fans to attend outdoor sporting events.
But Jessica Millan Patterson, chairwoman of the California GOP, thinks the governor’s actions are all a campaign stunt.
“This has been a political push from the governor to try and save face for all of the failures that he’s had over the last two years, and I think Californians see right through it,” said Patterson.
The governor addressed the recall effort at a recent press conference in Fresno, where he insisted he’s focused on the pandemic rather than the recall.
“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. I care if you’re safe and healthy and you can live your lives out loud,” the governor said.
Newsom has two more years left in office and has said that if a special election takes place, it will cost taxpayers up to $81 million., Patterson, however, said now is the time to try and vote him out of office.
"Californians are ready for a change," she said. "They shouldn’t have to wait another day for new leadership."
Heatlie added that he has no doubt Californians will soon have the option to elect a new governor.
"There’s a lot of damage that he’s done every day up until now, and there’s a lot of time between now and then that he can do more."
In order to get the recall on the ballot, 1,495,709 valid signatures have to be submitted by March 17. As of February 5, counties have submitted 668,202 signatures that were deemed valid.
Counties will have until April 29 to verify signatures and send them over to the Secretary of State’s office for a final review.