The recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom over the coronavirus restrictions he imposed on his state's residents and his own apparent violation of the safety measures at a restaurant last month are gaining steam, The Hill reported Monday.
Although the Democrat was generally praised earlier this year for shutting down much of the state in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic, his recent orders reimposing extensive closures have generated backlash.
AP reported the campaign to recall Newsom, which would necessitate a special gubernatorial election, has already collected about half of the 1.5 million signatures needed by March.
Californians last successfully pulled off a recall effort in 2003, when Democrat Gov. Gray Davis was displaced from office, which culminated in the election of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Newsom has already said he made a mistake and apologized for recently attending a birthday celebration at a restaurant during the coronavirus outbreak, saying he thought the gathering would be smaller when he agreed to attend but admitted "the spirit of what I'm preaching all the time was contradicted," The Hill reported.
Even as he faces this challenge, Newsom has important appointments to make, as he must fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as well as pick the state's next attorney general if Xavier Becerra is confirmed to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
The governor might even have a third post to fill if, as many expect, he chooses Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Harris.
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