‘He’s got a lot to worry about’: Newsom recall organizers cite ‘massive’ support on deadline day

Organizers for the campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom are confident they have more than enough signatures to turn in by the deadline on Wednesday in an effort to remove the Democrat from office.

Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager for Rescue California-Recall Gavin Newsom, said she expects that more than 2.1 million signatures will be submitted to county elections officials, which far exceeds the 1.5 million signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

“There was a massive, massive amount of support,” Dunsmore told the Washington Examiner. “We turned in signatures from every single county. It’s been really amazing, and I think he’s got a lot to worry about.”

The recall campaign began in June, focused on Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, although Dunsmore says there was interest before then over concerns about high taxes and crime.

Earlier this week, Newsom announced his own countercampaign to get people to oppose the recall efforts, which his team said was driven by “a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, Q-Anon conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant Trump supporters.”

Signatures for the recall must still be verified by the secretary of state’s office. So far, more than 80% of the signatures collected have been validated. Elections officials have until April 29 to review the signatures.

The recall proposal must also go through a 30-day window during which supporters can withdraw their names from the petition.

Dunsmore said she isn’t concerned about any counterefforts against the recall petition, of which she said 36% was signed by people who did not identify as Republican.

“They don’t have access to the list of people who did sign. They don’t have enough time, and that would be a massively complicated thing,” Dunsmore said. “We’ve got every indication from them that they’re not doing that. What [Newsom’s] doing instead is an effort to get people to join the campaign against the recall. It’s sort of an optic, not anything that will have a real impact on the number of signatures.”

Outside of the recall, Newsom would face reelection in 2022. Multiple GOP challengers, most of whom supported the recall effort, have announced their gubernatorial campaigns for next year.