California voters to decide whether to drive out Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom from office as a recall election has been scheduled on September 14 by the state's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.
Newsom faced widespread backlash over state coronavirus orders that shuttered schools and businesses and upended life for millions of Californians.
Although he decried the recall bid as the work of anti-vaxxers and QAnon conspiracy theorists, Newsom enraged some including Republicans and small business owners with California's strict and lengthy Covid restrictions.
Kounalakis, a Democrat, made the announcement after California Secretary of State Shirley Weber certified the recall effort.
"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," said Kounalakis in a statement, following the announcement.
"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.
"Conducting this election on September 14 fulfils my statutory requirements, and provides the time needed for officials to prepare and inform voters," he added, according to AFP inputs
In California's history, Newsom is only the second sitting governor to face a recall election. Gov. Gray Davis was successfully recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Newsom signed a law earlier this week to speed up the recall process. Critics objected to the move, alleging Newsom and his allies are trying to rush the election as according to current polls, he is expected to survive the vote in the heavily Democratic state.
Although the conditions might seem fine for now, expect a wave of Republican campaigns painting Newsom as an incompetent fop now that the recall elections have been made official.
Talking about Republican candidates who might put forward their candidature, conservative talk show host Larry Elder, 69, issued a brief statement Wednesday night saying he was seriously considering entering the race.
Meanwhile, other Republicans who have said they will run include Kevin Faulconer, the former Republican mayor of San Diego; Republican businessman John Cox, who was defeated by Newsom in 2018; former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose and reality TV personality and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner.
No prominent Democrats have yet signalled an intention to run.
Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in heavily Democratic California since 2006. Yet the recall election is one that will grab all the eyeballs as it will give a clear indication of the public mood ahead of the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play.