California will hold its gubernatorial recall race on Sept. 14, state officials announced Thursday, giving Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s prospective challengers just two more weeks to throw their hats into the ring.
Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis selected the date hours after the California secretary of state’s office certified the recall, which required just shy of 1.5 million signatures to make it onto the ballot. The date of the recall vote must be within 60 to 80 days of the certification date, according to state rules.
“Although the window of time from which I could select a date was narrow, I believe we have chosen a fair and reasonable date for this election to take place,” Kounalakis said in a statement. “It has always been my intention to choose an election date that gives election officials and the public ample time to ensure a smooth election with broad participation.”
The recall, which will ask voters if they want to keep Newsom in office or replace him with another candidate, will cost the state $215 million, officials said last month.
Newsom, who is nearly three years into his first term as governor, has no serious contenders from his own party competing against him in the solidly blue state. But a number of Republican challengers have emerged since the recall effort first picked up steam last winter ― including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and athlete-turned-reality star Caitlyn Jenner.
The recall became a sure thing in April when its supporters submitted around 1.7 million valid signatures. Newsom’s opponents benefited from an extended signature-collecting timeline granted by a judge and Californians’ growing frustration with Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included widespread school and business closures.
But with the state’s economy reopened and a high rate of vaccination against the coronavirus, Newsom has largely fallen back in favor with voters. A poll in late May from the Public Policy Institute of California found that just 40% of voters say they would remove him from office.
Newsom recently released his first recall-related television ads. They focus on both his pandemic recovery efforts ― state-provided stimulus checks, small business support and pre-K programs ― and attacks on recall supporters for being the “same Trump Republicans who refused to accept the presidential election.”
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