Vice President Kamala Harris vowed to campaign for Gov. Gavin Newsom as he faces a recall effort in California.
When asked whether she would back the Democratic governor, the longtime associate of Newsom answered, “Yes.”
Harris previously voiced support for Newsom, saying she backed him “100%” in a video message before officials announced the recall effort attracted enough verified signatures to proceed in late June.
Newsom endorsed Harris in her 2020 presidential bid, saying he was “enthusiastic” about her candidacy.
“I've known her for decades, not only as district attorney, where she did an extraordinary job with a very progressive record, but I watched her up close as lieutenant governor when she served as attorney general, and I have the privilege of working with her as a U.S. senator,” Newsom said in February 2019. “I think the American people could not do better.”
Despite rebounding approval ratings as California gradually reopened in recent months, Newsom suffered widespread criticism at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a grassroots movement to recall him.
State officials set the gubernatorial recall election for Sept. 14 after authorities determined organizers obtained enough valid signatures. California residents withdrew only 43 signatures in the allotted 30-day period from April 26 to June 8, leaving 1,719,900 verified signers — surpassing the roughly 1.5 million required to proceed with their bid.
Earlier this month, Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Arguelles decided Newsom would appear on the ballot without his Democratic Party affiliation, ruling the governor's argument his lawyer made an error last year was insufficient to favor Newsom's claim against Secretary of State Shirley Weber, whom the governor appointed.
In February 2020, Newsom responded to the recall petition, meeting a seven-day window to do so. However, he did not include his party preference.
Thomas Willis, the governor's attorney, took the blame for the mistake and told authorities he was unaware of the law that stipulated he denote party affiliation, which took effect two months before the governor's office's response.
Newsom signed the rule change in 2019 after recall subjects were previously forbidden from indicating Republican or Democrat on the ballot.
Though the recall campaign began in June 2020 in response to Newsom's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, there was prior interest over high taxes and crime concerns, said Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager for Rescue California-Recall Gavin Newsom.
“Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens,” leaders behind the recall petition said in February while specifying their grievances with the governor. “People in this state suffer the highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates, and the lowest quality of life as a result. He has imposed sanctuary state status and fails to enforce immigration laws. He unilaterally overruled the will of the people regarding the death penalty. He seeks to impose additional burdens on our state by the following; removing the protections of Proposition 13, rationing our water use, increasing taxes, and restricting parental rights.”
If Newsom prevails in the recall effort, he will be up for reelection in 2022.
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