California is one of 20 states that allow for gubernatorial recall. On Tuesday, the people of California will head to the polls to decide if Governor Newsom should remain in office or if he should be recalled. California’s first, and only, successful gubernatorial recall occurred in 2003 when Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor, replacing Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Negative sentiments about Newsom’s stance towards the death penalty, immigration, homelessness, crime, and housing costs in the state ignited the desire for the recall. Newsom has already faced at least five recall attempts.
On the ballot, voters will answer a “yes” or “no” if they want Newsom to be recalled. If a majority of voters answer “yes,” the follow-up question would require them to choose a candidate to replace Newsom. There are forty-six contenders from all parties on the ballot, but the most prominent ones are Republican. If most voters answer “no,” Newsom gets to stay in office.
Even though the election only determines the next governor of California, the results could impact the U.S. as a whole. The recall could change the power divide in the Senate. At the moment, democrats only slightly control the 50-50 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris often needed to break the ties. The governor of California has the power to appoint a new U.S. Senator if a spot becomes vacant. Newsom or his replacement will serve as governor until 2023, at which time Senator Dianne Feinstein will be close to 90 years old. The difference in impact between a Republican or a Democrat filling the vacant seat is significant.
There are close to five million more Democratic voters than Republican voters in California; therefore, it seems unlikely that Newsom will get recalled if everyone votes, but nothing is set in stone yet.
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