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COVID Politics: California Democrats Starting To Take Gov. Newsom Recall Effort Seriously

ANTIOCH (KPIX 5) -- A petition to recall Governor Gavin Newsom is gaining traction, with nearly a million signatures already collected and indications that state Democrats are beginning to take it seriously.

If Governor Newsom didn't have enough problems to deal with during the COVID-19 pandemic, now he has one more: recall petition supporter Steve Scheye.

"We're starting to get 100 signatures a day at a location like this. When I first started, I was getting 10, 20 a day," Scheye said as he held up a "Recall Gavin Newsom" sign across the street from the Costco in Antioch.

Scheye has been volunteering every day to gather signatures for a recall ever since he lost his engineering job to the COVID-19 shutdown. He said a wide range of people are signing the petition.

"They're people whose business has shut down, small businesses," Scheye explained. "They're mad about big businesses getting preferences over small businesses. People that want to go to church. They're not allowed to go to church; that's a big thing."

But Chair of the California Democratic Party Rusty Hicks doesn't believe that.

"This recall effort, which really ought to be called the 'California Coup,' is being led by right-wing conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers and groups who encourage violence to our democratic institutions," said Hicks.

The Democratic party is getting heat for those comments at a Tuesday press conference for trying to tie the recall to the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

With Democrats currently trying to kick Donald Trump out of office, Matt Shupe, the Chair of the Contra Costa GOP said it's hypocritical to be calling the petition drive an attempted coup.

"It's constitutional," he said. "It requires millions of signatures to be gathered and then it goes to an election. That's not a coup. That's democracy."

With the petition effort already 2/3 of the way to its goal, Shupe -- who is also a political strategist -- says he thinks the Democrats may be getting worried.

"They would not be having these press conferences or even talking about it had they not thought it's a serious threat to the governor," he said.

Republican fundraisers say donations are up since the comments were publicized and many Democratic strategists across the country are saying it was a mistake to try to link the recall to the rioters without any proof.

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