Gavin Newsom’s advisers ‘increasingly concerned’ over recall effort that is gaining ground

Advisers to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) are showing signs of worry over a mounting recall effort, with one saying she’s “increasingly concerned” about it as anger and economic fallout continues amid perpetuating COVID-19 lockdowns and business closures.

Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary, who is preparing to leave Sacramento for a job in a potential Joe Biden administration, made the comment in a report.

“As Newsom begins his third full year in office, the governor’s team is increasingly concerned with a long-shot conservative recall that could mushroom into a major threat in 2021 if it attracts significant financial support,” she said, according to the outlet.

Newsom has already faced five recall efforts, but all of those were considered — and turned out to be — long shots.

“Sources close to Newsom said the governor’s office has been disorganized over the past month and has not responded effectively to damaging headlines” related to his mask-less dinner at the swanky French Laundry restaurant, his delay in naming a replacement for Sen. Kamala Harris, and a new stay-at-home order that is proving highly controversial, Politico added.

Recall leaders said late last month that Newsom’s violation of his own restaurant dining restrictions was the last straw for many Californians.

The effort is being supported by a committee called Rescue California. It’s co-chair, Tony Krvaric, said the new group was assembled “with the right people to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, holding him accountable for his erratic leadership and stunning hypocrisy in this crisis.”

“Californians deserve better and we invite everyone to join in this effort,” he added.

“From the beginning, I have been impressed with the efforts of the original petitioners,” veteran fundraiser Ann Dunsmore, who assisted with the all-volunteer signature campaign throughout the summer.

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“This is happening at exactly the right time,” Orrin Heatlie, the lead proponent of the recall, said last month. “We have just gotten the 120-day extension. This new committee, supported by dozens of prominent elected officials and seasoned professionals, is a perfect complement to our volunteers. We are the army, and they are the cavalry. I could not be more pleased.”

In comments to the San Francisco Chronicle this week, Heatlie, a retired Yolo County Sheriff’s Department sergeant, added: “Every day he gives us a new and interesting reason for people to sign.”

“If we could get another million dollars in donations we could probably get this done,” added another recall leader, Mike Netter.

Recall organizers have until March 17 to gather the required 1,495,709 to force a recall. At present, organizers say they have around 800,000 but will need more money in order to finance the additional signature-gathering efforts.

“They need an outsider to write a big check the way that Darrell Issa funded the Gray Davis recall in 2003,” Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen told the paper.

As for O’Leary, she has vast experience in Washington, having worked for Hillary Clinton for several years, Politico noted. It’s not clear, however, when she will be departing for D.C.

President Donald Trump and his legal team are continuing to challenge election results in several states, alleging mass fraud which is backed up by more than 1,000 sworn affidavits, according to officials.

Also, a lawsuit filed by Texas against four battleground states and enjoined by 17 others seeking to throw out election results and order legislators in those states to choose electors, is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jon Dougherty

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