Republicans rip Gov. Newsom for changing recall rules midstream: Dems ‘cheat in plain sight’

Republicans in the California Assembly are blasting majority Democrats for “ramming through” legislation that will grant Gavin Newsom more control over his own recall, moving up the date in an effort to advantage the Democratic governor.

The Democratic supermajority moved on Thursday to provide Newsom with “a more favorable election date” after previously signaling they would do so, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a statement that the state itself, not individual counties, will pay the anticipated $215 million costs of the recall effort, adding that the legislature will also “bypass the cost analysis period,” the paper noted.

“This funding will allow for an earlier recall election,” the lawmakers noted. “By providing counties with the funding they need, we can waive the required period for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to review the election costs.”

Previously, the recall was expected to take place sometime in October or November, but by waiving some of the time constraints, the recall can now occur in late August or early September. Democrats appear content to move up the recall date while Newsom’s polling numbers appear to be stronger at the moment.

“He has rebounded well with vaccines and budget,” state Sen. Steve Glazer (D) tweeted on May 21. “His biggest threats are the unknowns: virus variant, fires, school reopening. No reason to delay and give opposition any more running room.”

The changes upset Republicans.

“We’ve just learned Gavin Newsom and the Legislature will ram through a new law, AB 152, to give him total control over the date of the Recall vote. That this is unsurprising doesn’t make it any less chilling,” said GOP state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, whose district is just northeast of Sacramento, in a statement posted to his website.

“Newsom and his enablers are changing the rules for his own Recall in the middle of the game. They cheat in plain sight then wonder why people lack trust in our elections,” he added.

“This is how elections are fixed in CA. Democrats pick a number out of a dark place, announce it, ‘waive’ an election law, & rig an election date around polling driven by governor handing out cash to people he impoverished. We scold foreign countries for corruption like this,” conservative attorney Harmeet Dhillon tweeted.

L.A. Times reporter John Myer suggested that the Legislature may also have to pass a new revised recall statute in order to “officially waive the cost analysis process,” the Chronicle added. But with a Democratic supermajority, that won’t be an issue.

“So far, they’ve delayed the vote using a corrupt law from 2017. For instance, they added six weeks to bully people to withdraw their signatures,” Kiley noted further. “Newsom thought his best chance was to put the vote off until the state “opens.” Now he’s decided waiting too long presents other risks. So he’s changing the law to set the election exactly when he wants.

“Meanwhile, he’s ignoring media inquiries about our letter asking him to justify the State of Emergency,” he continued. “We’re told everything is going back to ‘normal’ except for the amount of power held by the Governor. If the election is set for mid-September, we have 100 days to save California. Get ready for the campaign of a lifetime.”

While state Republicans railed about the changes, one struck a less hostile tone.

“They can schedule the election whenever they want,” tweeted John Burke, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s (R) communications director. “@Kevin_Faulconer isn’t afraid to face the voters, @GavinNewsom clearly is.”

Meanwhile, Republicans also blasted Democrats — and Newsom — after the California Citizens Compensation Commission voted unanimously last week to boost his salary and that of 132 other elected officials by 4.2 percent.

The increase for Newsom amounts to around $8,800, boosting the multimillionaire businessman’s annual salary to $218,500, but Republican gubernatorial candidates are pushing him to reject the increase, especially after his year-long COVID-19 business restrictions and mandated closures cost owners dearly and, in many cases, everything they had.

“Over the last year, millions of Californians have lost their jobs and thousands of small businesses have been closed forever,” business owner John Cox said in a Thursday statement. “The last thing Newsom and the political insiders should do is accept higher government salaries.”

He added that Newsom ought to “apologize to Californians” who “suffered through the pandemic” while he and his family earned “millions from a charity that raises money from companies and individuals doing business with the state.”

Added Faulconer in a video: “Now is not the time for a salary increase for Gov. Newsom. Millions of Californians have lost their jobs. We have $30 billion in unemployment fraud. Gov. Newsom, reject the salary increase today.”

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Jon Dougherty

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