A campaign seeking to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is picking up pace in Orange County, California, and statewide. In the past few weeks, prominent Republicans in the county have endorsed the recall campaign, citing concerns about increased lockdown measures hurting the livelihoods of Californians.
The petition to start the recall process, run by the political action committee Rescue California, was granted an extension by a judge Nov. 6, giving it until March 17, 2021, to gather the minimum 1,495,709 signatures needed. It currently has over 800,000.
The Lincoln Club of Orange County, a pro-business political organization, endorsed the campaign Dec. 8. Seth Morrison, executive director of the Lincoln Club told The Epoch Times, “We feel confident that the recall team has the tools necessary to be successful, and we are seeing more and more people step up to get involved. The governor should be very nervous.”
Rachel Potucek, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Orange County, told The Epoch Times in an email, “It is highly unlikely that a recall would ultimately succeed. This is clearly a political stunt.”
Regarding the lockdowns, she said:
“To protect our businesses, we must stop COVID-19. To stop COVID-19, we must listen to health experts.”
Morrison cited as reasons for the recall the many economic impacts, especially on small businesses, of Newsom’s stringent lockdowns. He also noted parents are having to cut back on work or quit their jobs to care for children who are not able to attend school in person.
Another prominent Orange County Republican who recently jumped on the recall effort is Supervisor Don Wagner, who is an honorary chair of the recall campaign.
“I support the recall because the governor has demonstrated repeated failures to protect the people of California,” Wagner told The Epoch Times via text message.
“His COVID responses have been erratic, hypocritical, not worked, and made the mental, physical and emotional health of California worse, not better.”
Wagner criticized Newsom’s support of affirmative action and of AB 5, the controversial law that has limited the gig economy in California. He criticized Newsom for dining at the French Laundry restaurant with lobbyists after telling Californians to stay home, a much-publicized incident for which Newsom has apologized.
Supervisor Donald Wagner attends a meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors in Santa Ana, Calif., on Aug. 25, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
“He wants to replace all cars with electric vehicles in a few years, but can’t keep the power on today,” Wagner continued.
“He has mismanaged the forests so that wildfires are destroying lives and whole communities.
“People are fleeing California because of all this mismanagement. We cannot take too much more of it.”
Wagner has been vocal against lockdowns in Orange County, starting his own petition called Open CAL Now.
He introduced a resolution this month that seeks to have the county, instead of the state, control public health measures.
Other Orange County figures who support the recall effort include former Mayor of Anaheim Curt Pringle, former Supervisor Jim Silva, and Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Fred Whitaker, who all have joined as honorary chairs or co-chairs.
Rescue California has been successful before at having a governor recalled. It led the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003.