The California Secretary of State’s Office confirmed the move Wednesday evening.
The recall petition garnered over 1.7 million signatures, of which only 43 were withdrawn, leaving the effort well above the 1.5 million threshold.
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference held at Unity Council career center in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)
“A sufficient number of verified recall signatures had previously been reached by recall proponents in April,” the Secretary of State’s office announced in a statement. “However, in accordance with California election law, voters were given a 30-day period from April 26 to June 8th to request county officials remove their signatures from recall petitions.”
The next phase of the recall process is now in the hands of the state’s Department of Finance, which is tasked with estimating the costs of a special election. The vote must be held within 90 days.
“It’s just been one thing after another with this governor and finally he’s going to be held accountable,” state Assemblyman James Gallagher told Fox News Wednesday evening.
Gallagher, who has long criticized the governor for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and successfully sued him over mail-in balloting also ripped into him over a bombshell NPR report that found the embattled governor had “misled” the public on his state’s wildfire prevention efforts.
“This hits really close to home for me,” he said. “I represent Paradise, a town that was decimated by a wildfire in 2018. We have kept saying that we need to put more investment into fuel reduction. These fuels have built up in our forests over the decades, mostly because we’ve got rid of any kind of forestry management in California. The governor keeps telling everybody that he’s putting all kinds of money into wildfire prevention. And as it turns out, it’s been a fraction of what he’s been stating to the California public.”
Newsom’s recall effort will be the second that comes to a vote in Golden State history. The first brought Arnold Schwarzenegger into office in 2003.
“Here’s an opportunity for Californians to pick a free-trial governor for a year,” said Kevin Paffrath, a California real estate agent and social media personality who is running to replace Newsom as a Democrat.
He noted that his fellow Golden State residents are “better off trusting anybody than Gavin Newsom,” and that since the term ends in around a year’s time, there’s not much to lose by giving the governor the boot.
“Unless, of course, we want to keep seeing billions of dollars going into a funnel and get wasted,” he said.
And he’s been plagued by other scandals for months, ranging from a highbrow dining excursion at the French Laundry that may have violated his own coronavirus shutdown rules while costing more than many Californians earn in a month and his handling lockdowns and school reopenings throughout the pandemic.
Major Williams, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, told Fox News earlier this month that Newsom had “mishandled the pandemic.”
“It’s just adding more ammunition and fuel to the recall that’s coming up,” he said.
Williams, an entrepreneur and founder of Major Kicks for Kids, was the first Republican to announce his candidacy for governor. Businessman John Cox, whom Newsom defeated in 2018, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and TV personality Caitlyn Jenner have since entered the fray on the GOP side, among many other candidates.
“After years of incompetence under Gavin Newsom, Californians are ready for change,” Faulconer told Fox News Wednesday night. “This movement – which is powered by Democrats, Republicans, and independents – is about rebuilding our economy, cleaning up our streets, and getting our kids back in school. I am proud to lead this recall so we can begin the California Comeback for families across this state.”
Democratic challengers include Paffrath, former U.S. House hopeful Frank Wade, and more than a half-dozen others.
A spokesman for Newsom did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.
Fox News Bradford Betz contributed to this report.