Newsom recall campaign reaches milestone with 1 million signatures

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A Newport Beach-based effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom reached a milestone of 1 million signatures, organizers announced Tuesday.

Organizers need about 1.8 million signatures by mid-March to qualify the recall for the ballot, said Anne Hyde Dunsmore, a former finance chair of the California Republican Party who is an honorary chair of Rescue California, which is gathering signatures for the recall effort.

The campaign's goal is 2 million signatures, Dunsmore said.

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A campaign is gaining momentum to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom based off of how he has handled the pandemic.

Organizers hope a recall election will be held in late August or mid-September, Dunsmore said.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, are among the potential candidates to replace Newsom, Dunsmore said.

Newsom originally received some praise for his aggressive approach with the nation's first stay-at-home order last spring. But there is growing criticism over extensions to the order, and his admission last month that he dined at an opulent restaurant in Napa Valley while telling state residents to spurn social gatherings and stay home. The public shaming continues for his ill-advised dinner at the French Laundry, an establishment that features a white truffle and caviar dinner for $1,200 per person.
The governor has since apologized, but some are growing tired of the rules.

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Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement Friday afternoon after he attended a birthday party at French Laundry in Yountville in Napa County.

"This is about citizens who are tired of being dictated to every single day and being told, 'You cannot go outside,' 'You cannot do this,' 'You cannot do that,'" said Randy Economy, a senior adviser to the recall effort.

A Newsom spokesman says the campaign by Trump supporters is a waste of money, adding the governor would rather focus on getting through the homestretch of the pandemic.

On Monday, the organization received 12,000 letters from voters who responded to a direct-mail campaign, Dunsmore said.

"There had to be 20,000 signatures in there,'' she said.

The campaign also received a big boost with a $500,000 donation from Orange County investor John Kruger.

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Reaction continues to pour in following an ABC7 I-Team investigation revealing nine companies part of a group founded by Governor Gavin Newsom received millions in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The campaign has received many large donations such as $49,000 from the Carol and Dixon Doll Family Foundation, according to the California Secretary of State's Office. Douglas Leone of Los Altos donated $49,900 and Edward Brown of Word and Brown donated $25,000, according to the state records.

The Hoffmann Land Development Company of Walnut Creek donated $49,500, Susan Groff $45,000 and Brian Cereghino, CEO of IPAC Inc., donated $20,000.

"One million frustrated Californians have signed the official recall petition,'' said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the recall campaign. We are two-thirds of the way to giving voters the opportunity to choose a new governor and a new direction for the state.''

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.
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