Newsom acknowledged in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” Tuesday that he is worried about the recall and expects it to qualify.
“All you need is about a quarter of the people that voted for Donald Trump to get this recall petition to the voters this November, so I’m anticipating it goes on (the ballot). We’re taking it very seriously,” Newsom told Tapper.
He characterized some of the recall proponents as members of right-wing militia groups, conspiracy theorists and White supremacist groups. When pressed by Tapper about the broad base of support that the recall has won among Republicans and independents, Newsom acknowledged that “it’s been a difficult year, and in hindsight, we’re all experts.”
Newsom spoke to Tapper a day before the deadline for recall proponents to submit nearly 1.5 million signatures to the state’s county registrars for verification. Organizers said last week that they had already collected nearly 2 million, a goal they set to account for duplicates or invalid entries. (The threshold set by the state of 1,495,709 signatures for the recall to qualify is equivalent to 12% of the vote in the last gubernatorial election.)
Now that it appears likely that the recall will qualify for the ballot, Newsom has abruptly changed course — shifting from brushing off questions about it to calling it a serious threat to Californians that will jeopardize the progressive goals he has championed. In the last two days, the governor has engaged in an unusual media blitz as his team has launched his new counter-effort, Stop the Republican Recall, to raise money and fire up Democratic support by casting recall proponents as extremists, anti-vaxxers and the kinds of violent insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in support of Trump.
Earlier Tuesday on ABC’s “The View,” Newsom allowed that he is worried about the campaign, noting that it is the sixth effort to recall him. One reason the recall now looks likely to qualify is because of the high signature validity rate thus far.
Though the verification effort is going slowly at the state level — the most current report from the California Secretary of State’s Office said that of the nearly 800,000 signatures verified by county officials so far, nearly 84% were valid.
“Am I worried about it? Of course I’m worried about it,” Newsom said on “The View.”
“The nature of these things, the up or down question, the zero-sum nature of the question is challenging … so we’re taking it seriously.”