Newsom Recall

March 30, 2021

Wild West Showdown

Political forces face off.

The road ahead for America’s most populated state (and a peek at its unique past) as California’s governor confronts a recall effort.


  • 19 states and D.C. allow voters to recall an elected state official. Most states, incl. CA, don’t require a specific reason.
  • Organizers first apply with the state for a recall petition. Next, they circulate the petition to gather the required number of signatures (varies by state).
  • If req’d # of signatures are verified, a recall measure goes on the ballot asking voters IF they want a recall & WHOM they want as the replacement.

What’s Happening Now

This recall effort against Gov. Newsom beginning last year – some report February; others say June – is the sixth recall attempt since his 2018 election.
The momentum to recall Gov. Newsom gathered steam as controversy over his strict COVID policies (and his behavior at times, such as violating his own COVID rules at a famous upscale restaurant) received national attention.


  • Recall efforts are rare nationwide, but they’re not so unusual in California.
  • History: Since 1913, there have been 179 attempted recalls in CA. 10 made it to the ballot, resulting in the recall of 6 elected officials – incl. 1 governor. The only other state to successfully recall a governor was North Dakota in 1912.
  • Recalls have real consequences: CA voters recalled Gov. Davis (D) and elected Gov. Schwarzenegger (R).
“Unaffordable housing. Record homelessness. Rising crime. Failing schools. Independent contractors thrown out of work. Exploding pension debt. And now, a locked down population while the prisons are emptied. Hold Gavin Newsom accountable. Gavin Newsom must go.”

From A key organizer said, “This recall is driven by the people of California. It encompasses the entire political spectrum.”

“It’s about immigration. It’s about our health care policies. It’s about our criminal justice reform. It’s about the diversity of the state. It’s about our clean air, clean water programs, meeting our environmental strategies.”

Gov. Newsom launched his own campaign to counter the effort to recall him, adding, “I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it.”

Why It Matters: California, the most populated state in the nation, has one of the largest economies in the world. Gov. Newsom has been a rising star in the Democratic party, with eyes towards the White House. The deadline to collect signatures supporting the recall is March 17th – signatures will need to be verified before next steps.


by Jenna Lee,