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Former California Gov. Schwarzenegger Warns Newsom To Take Looming Recall Election Seriously

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In an interview with Politico released on Wednesday, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger warned Gov. Gavin Newsom to take this recall seriously or face possible termination.

In 2003, outages and a severe energy crisis led to the recall of Democratic incumbent Gov. Gray Davis, who was replaced by Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

The former governor told Politico that despite the two-decade difference between administrations, "it's pretty much the same atmosphere today as it was then. There was dissatisfaction to the highest level."

Schwarzenegger added that Newsom's demise would be due in part to widespread frustration, job loss, and the public health crisis, but he pointed to one specific moment as the recall catalyst.

Schwarzenegger says that just as power outages were the reason for Davis's early exit from office, in Newsom's case, a dinner at The French Laundry in Napa County that went against his own restrictions will be to blame.

"Something that sets it off to a higher level, kind of the straw that breaks the camel's back like an explosion," he said.

Steve Mavigilio, who was the press secretary to Davis, agrees.

"It personified what people don't like about Gavin Newsom. They don't like governors hanging with lobbyists, they don't like elitism and they don't like him saying one thing and doing another," Mavigilio said. "Those three things really crystalized the opposition to the governor."

In 2003, recall efforts mobilized on a grassroots level. Phone calls, meetings, volunteers gathered thousands of signatures.

This time around Mavigilio said the effort has gone digital.

"It's an extra gallon of gasoline on the fire. Back in 2003, it didn't exist. Everything was word of mouth. This time you can literally see something on the internet one day and the next day it's a recall petition."

A new poll with the Public Policy Institute surveyed 1,100 likely voters. About 56 percent said they would vote no to a recall, while 40 percent would vote yes. This means that right now, Newsom would likely keep his job.

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