LOS ANGELES – A Republican-backed petition to recall California’s governor has achieved its goal of forcing a special election, which is set to be held later this year, officials said Monday.
The vote on Democratic governor Gavin Newsom’s tenure will be only the second ever held in California, after the 2003 election that brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to power — and the fourth in the nation’s history.
As of Monday, “the requisite number of valid signatures has been reported to our office to initiate the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom,” said California’s Secretary of State Shirley Weber.
California, the most populous and wealthiest US state, allows voters to hold a referendum on replacing its governor if they can gather the signatures of 12 percent of previous voters.
The campaign to remove Newsom, fueled by his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has gained more than 1.6 million verified signatures.
Unless significant numbers of those people rescind their signatures in the next 30 days, a vote will take place, likely by November.
Voters would be asked if Newsom should go, and who they want to replace him if he does.
Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete and Kardashian clan member Caitlyn Jenner is among those who have already thrown their hats into the ring.
In 2003, the election drew global attention as an eccentric field of 135 candidates ran including Schwarzenegger, a porn actress, and late Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.
But Newsom is considered unlikely to lose the recall vote, in a state that has swung even more heavily Democrat in the past two decades.
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