SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — For the first time Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom directly addressed the looming recall he's facing.
At the same time, he also fired back, launching a blistering video ad against the recall campaign, looping in recall supporters with Capitol insurrectionists.
What seemed like a long shot recall campaign just months ago is now very much a reality.
Newsom went on MSNBC for a live national television interview, calling backers of his recall campaign extremists, while also conceding they will likely get it on a ballot.
"We must remain vigilant about these groups and how serious they are," Newsom said. "How bent they are on, well, doing what they can to promote their perspective."
The governor timed the interview alongside the launch of a website "stoptherepublicanrecal.com" and the release of a video labeling recall backers as violent white supremacists.
A voiceover in the video reads the recall is aligned with "...anti-vaccine QAnon extremists, violent white supremacists like the proud boys, who attacked our national Capitol in January 6..."
Republican political strategist Tab Berg says Newsom's message will only harden the opposition.
"I think he's looking for a bogey man because he doesn't have a leg to stand on in terms of how he's run the state," Berg said. "So he's going to try to paint this up into a national issue and try to make it all about Trump and the Proud Boys and that's not what the recall is about."
Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio says Newsom's campaign is playing to California's massive democratic base.
"He's gonna try to make this a very brutal partisan fight," Maviglio said. "They want to make sure that people that may be upset with the governor about schools, don't want to associate themselves with QAnon followers, they don't want to associate themselves with Trump supporters."
Recall rhetoric. As Governor Newsom leads California through this pandemic, he will now also be leading his own anti-recall campaign.
The timeline looks like the recall election could fall in October or November, making for a full six months of campaigning.
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