The Wedge wasn’t the only one experiencing big waves this week.
As the Wedge topped eye-popping waves coming in at an estimated 18 feet on Saturday (before the “doubling up” that the Wedge is famous for), the signature-counting in the recall effort was ongoing, and Monday, word was officially released that enough validated signatures had been tallied to proceed with a recall election– 1,495,709 verified voter signatures, or 12% of all ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election. The deadline to process all signatures was April 29th.
A recall election operates much differently than a normal election, as it first poses the question “should the candidate be recalled?”. If the answer is greater than 50% for “no”, the governor stays in office. If the “yes” answer is 50% or less, then the candidates below that are essentially in a runoff. This could leave voters with a strange outcome: Newsom could be favored by 49% but lose the recall to a candidate who receives substantially less than that in the vote.
For instance: If Newsom gets 49% of the votes *not* to recall and there are 5 candidates running:
Newsom could get 49%
“Candidate A” could get 30%
“Candidate B” could get 20%
“Candidate C” could get 11%
And “Candidate A” would win with 30% of the vote, even though Newsom had 49% support.
This leaves the current party in power with an interesting decision: Do they run a “backup candidate” in a hope that while the heavily blue California may vote to recall Newsom, they may still vote blue as a majority, thereby retaining the Governorship as a “Blue Seat”? Or do they put all their cards behind Newsom? Doing the latter would be “all in” with Newsom, but doing the former would be a blow to Newsom as an incumbent, essentially voting “no confidence” in his leadership, and almost assuredly ending his political career. The decision on whether or not to hedge this bet will not be made lightly by the Democratic Party, and will be based on the results of endless amounts of polling done by many different interested parties.
Currently, the person with the highest Name ID (what political-types say, instead of “name recognition”) is Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner is easily more recognizable than the previous challenger front-runner, John Cox, or the runner-up in Name ID, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Congressman Doug Ose, or activist and gubernatorial recall effort headman Major Williams.
Shirley Weber, Secretary of State, (following Kamala Harris moving to vp), was hand picked by Newsom to fill the role, and will be deciding on the date for the recall election. The earliest Weber could certify a special statewide recall election would be mid- to late- August, after voters who signed the petitions are given time to withdraw their signatures, if they choose to. Only then can Weber issue her official certification, triggering action by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis to call an election within 60 to 80 days.
Add it all up, and a gubernatorial recall election would be held sometime between Nov. 2 and Nov. 30, with Thanksgiving taking center role during that time.
In politics, that is eons away, and many things will doubtlessly float in and out of state policies during this time period. How voters may think of the governor in November is anyone’s guess.