LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday found out the date he will face a recall election — Sept. 14.
Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis announced the date shortly after Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber certified that the recall committee had gathered enough valid petition signatures to qualify the election for the ballot.
And with the date set, the debate has begun over whether it will help or hurt Newsom as he fights to remain in office.
"I think this is good for Democrats," Loyola Law Professor Jessica Levinson said. "This is on the early side. You have very little time for people to throw their hat in the ring here."
And while the race has been in full swing since last year with Republicans John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Caitlyn Jenner having already announced their intent to run, potential challengers only have two more weeks to officially announce their candidacies.
The effort gained steam last year after Newsom was caught dining at the upscale restaurant French Laundry in wine country in violation of his own social distancing guidelines.
Following the dinner, and with growing outrage over continued statewide pandemic restrictions, it did not take long for the campaign to collect the more than 1.5 million signatures needed.
But, according to recent polls, the Republican-led effort will likely have a tough battle ahead to unseat Newsom.
"I'm not against it," Eva Bautista, a Studio City resident, said. "But, at the same time, I feel like he's done enough to keep everybody safe."
Republicans are also lagging in the fundraising race. The latest numbers released by the California Secretary of State's Office showed Newsom with $18.3 million, Cox with $5.1 million, Faulconer with $2.1 million and Jenner with $402,000.
Newsom's campaign released a statement following the announcement that said, in part:
"This Republican recall is a naked attempt by Trump Republicans to grab control in California — powered by the same Republicans who refused to accept the results of the presidential election. ...On September 14, Californians will have the chance to defend our state and reject this Republican power grab once and for all."
Cox's campaign also released a statement that said, in part:
"Fires are starting to rage, we're still not sure schools will open on time, homelessness is out of control. ...Gavin Newsom will be recalled on September 14th."
Faulconer's campaign also released a statement that said, in part:
"The people have spoken and this recall is happening. This movement is powered by Californians from every community — Democrats, Republicans and Independents."
"The people of California have already won with this recall," Mario Guerra, a member of the California GOP executive committee, said. "I mean, you can see all the different changes, all the money giveaways that we've gotten. I think, I truly believe the state opened up sooner and got pushed from a political climate standpoint because the governor was under pressure."
The California Department of Finance Thursday said the recall election was expected to cost $276 million.
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