Democrats move to cover recall costs, speed up election date

Jun 10, 2021, 4:18 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2021, 4:34 am
FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2020, file photo, voters cast their ballots at a polling place in Newport Be...

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2020, file photo, voters cast their ballots at a polling place in Newport Beach, Calif. It will cost California counties an estimated $215 million to stage an expected recall election this year that could oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democratic leaders in the California Legislature announced Thursday the state would cover the estimated $215 million cost to stage an expected recall election that could oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, potentially allowing the contest to be held at an earlier date this year.

The announcement came shortly after state analysts released the cost projection, based on figures submitted by the state’s 58 counties that conduct elections.

“This funding will allow for an earlier recall election,” Senate leader Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a joint statement, adding that the Legislature also would waive a 30-day review of those costs.

No election date has been set at this point, and it wasn’t immediately clear how the leaders’ announcement might influence that decision, which is part of a lengthy process managed by the Secretary of State.

The election was widely expected to be held sometime in the fall, based on required financial reviews before the state authorizes the recall and sets the date.

For example, the Finance Department has 30 days to review the cost estimate for the election. The agency issued the preliminary $215 million estimate Thursday, but its analysts have not started its formal review. It wasn’t clear how long that might take.

With the moves in the Legislature, it appears Democrats are eager to get the recall on the ballot as quickly as possible, with recent polling showing the embattled governor would survive the recall attempt after his popularity tumbled during the worst of the pandemic.

John Burke, a spokesman for Republican candidate and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, said in a statement that “Gavin Newsom’s allies can schedule this election any time they like. Mayor Faulconer is ready and will win regardless.”

The preliminary cost projection came about a month after a coalition of county officials urged the Legislature to provide funding to cover those bills, warning that they otherwise would strain local budgets already stretched thin by the coronavirus pandemic.

Without state financial help, those costs “fall squarely on the shoulders of counties, creating a severe financial burden,” the counties warned.

The preliminary figures were provided by counties that estimated what it would cost for everything from printing and mailing ballots to providing face masks and gloves for election workers.

Legislative leaders and the governor’s office continue to negotiate a deal on the new budget, which must be in place by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Projected election costs varied widely, from $49 million in Los Angeles County, home to about 10 million people, to about $36,000 in sparsely populated Modoc County, in the state’s rural northeast corner.

In Los Angeles, its projection to stage the recall was roughly half of the $96 million the county spent to run the November presidential election.

State officials earlier announced a preliminary tally that found recall organizers had gathered more than enough petition signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot.

Democrats supporting Newsom have called the election a waste of taxpayer money, noting that he will stand for re-election in 2022 if he beats back a recall attempt in the fall.

Republicans who deride Newsom as a failure see the election costs as money well-spent in their effort to drive him from office.

The recall took root last year, driven largely by public dismay with Newsom’s long-running virus restrictions that shuttered schools and businesses.

The list of Republican challengers who have signaled an intention to enter the race continues to grow, though no consensus front-runner has emerged. State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley this week became the latest to announce he is considering stepping in.

Other Republicans in the race include businessman John Cox, who was defeated by Newsom in 2018, reality TV personality and 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner, and former congressman Doug Ose.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual...
Associated Press

Trump’s vulnerabilities for 2024 mount after new testimony

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) — Stunning new revelations about former President Donald Trump’s fight to overturn the 2020 election have exposed growing political vulnerabilities just as he eyes another presidential bid. A former White House aide this week described Trump as an unhinged leader with no regard for the safety of elected officials in either […]
22 hours ago
FILE - People calling for a climate solution demonstrate outside of a hearing of the California Air...
Associated Press

Court leaves dwindling paths for Biden’s climate mission

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 500 days into his presidency, Joe Biden’s hope for saving the Earth from the most devastating effects of climate change may not be dead. But it’s not far from it. A Supreme Court ruling Thursday not only limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate climate pollution by power plants, […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A brief patch of early morning sunlight brightens the landscape around the Greenidge Generat...
Associated Press

New York officials rule against bitcoin-mining power plant

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials denied required air permit renewals Thursday to a bitcoin-mining power plant on the grounds that it was a threat to the state’s climate goals. The permitting decision was another example of New York putting the brakes on a cryptocurrency bonanza that has alarmed environmentalists. It also comes at […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chamb...
Associated Press

Wisconsin’s conservative high court hands GOP another weapon

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court handed Republicans their newest weapon to weaken any Democratic governors in the battleground state, ruling this week that political appointees don’t have to leave their posts until the Senate confirms their successor. The court’s decision — in the case of a conservative who refused to step down […]
22 hours ago
In this courtroom sketch, R. Kelly briefly addresses Judge Ann Donnelly during his sentencing in fe...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: How will R. Kelly sentence impact other trials?

CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly could be in his 80s before the singer is free again, based on a 30-year prison term imposed this week by a New York federal judge for parlaying his fame to sexually abuse young fans, including some who were children. And if the 55-year-old loses at three related trials in […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A bitcoin symbol is presented on an LED screen during the closing ceremony of a congress for...
Associated Press

El Salvador’s Bitcoin-boosting leader buys $1.5 million more

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador’s Bitcoin-boosting president was back at it again Thursday, doubling down on his country’s losing investment in the cryptocurrency by buying over $1.5 million more. President Nayib Bukele wrote on his Twitter acount after posting the purchase: “Bitcoin is the future! Thank you for selling cheap.” Bukele said […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Democrats move to cover recall costs, speed up election date