California is known throughout the nation as a Democrat stronghold. However, the Democrat strategy for Governor Gavin Newsom’s upcoming recall election could cost Democrats the state. Indeed, the very same scenario played out in 2003 when Democrat Governor Gray Davis lost a recall election and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor even though he won less than 50% of the vote. If the recall election in California does take place, voters will first be asked to decide if they want to recall the governor and then, on the same ballot, vote for the person who should take his place.
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, along with Governor Newsom, don’t seem to think there is anything to worry about. They are discouraging fellow Democrats from putting their names on the replacement list in the hopes that the governor will win the election and finish his term, after which a new Democrat nominee can run for Governor in a regular election.
Indeed, Governor Newsom seems to believe that he will have no problem winning the upcoming recall, an effort he is attempting to label as a “Republican Recall.” However, the move has its risks. If Newsom is recalled and there is no Democrat on the ballot to replace him, the new governor will be either an independent or a Republican, with the latter option being the most likely.
Republicans aren’t the only ones who are dissatisfied with Governor Newsom’s management of the Golden State. A recent poll by a non-partisan organization found that 15% of likely Democrat voters support recalling the current governor. Statistics show that about 24% of voters in the state are Republican while an additional 24% are independent. If Independent voters join Republicans and dissatisfied Democrats in recalling Gov. Newsom, the state will turn red unless the Democrat Party puts up another candidate.
The recall election, if it takes place, will likely happen in November. Between now and then, things could change drastically. If Democrats begin worrying that their governor won’t make it, some may opt to get their names on the ballot. Failed Presidential candidate Tom Steyer has expressed interest in the possibility. However, most Democrat politicians seem intent on standing behind the governor, if for no other reason than the fact they are afraid of tarnishing their own reputations if the recall election fails.