Why is California Holding a Governor Recall Election? Who are the Contenders?

How does the recall election work? Who are the contenders? and what do the polls say? Everything you need to know,

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>California Recall Governor Race. Image used for representation only</p></div>

California voters will be heading to polls in less than a month to decide whether their governor, Gavin Newsom, gets to keep his office. The recall election is set to take place on 14 September and even though Governor Gavin enjoys support in the majority blue Democratic state, the contenders for his seat are posing a serious challenge.

The recall election will also take place amid a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant of the virus and with raging wildfires in the state.

So how did California reach this point amid a pandemic? How does the recall election work? Who are the contenders and what do the polls have to say?

Here is everything you need to know:


Why is California holding a recall election?

According to a CBS News report, a petition to recall Newsom was circulated by a group called the California Patriot Coalition in February 2020. The coalition has cited that the current state administrations policies on immigration, homelessness, drought emergency, and taxes. The coalition was started by retired sheriff's sergeant Orrin Heatlie.

This is not the first time that Newsom has faced a recall election. There have been five previous attempts however, they failed to garner the required 1.5 million signatures or equal to 12 percent of the voter turnout in the last election, to trigger a recall election.

The CBS reports state that the recall movement gained traction after Newsom was spotted at a restaurant while indoor dining was not allowed due to COVID restrictions.

Frustrations over changing mask mandates, lockdown restrictions, and school closures also gave a boost to the recall election, which at least 1.7 million voters supporter, reported The Guardian.

How does a recall election work?

Voters will be sent a postal ballot with two questions:

  1. Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?

  2. A question listing candidates that the voters can choose from to replace Newsom.

If the majority of voters choose no on the first question, Governor Newsom gets to retain his office. If the majority choose yes, then the candidate with the highest vote count will take the office.

Who are the candidates for California recall race?

There are 46 candidates for the California Recall Race which consists of 24 Republicans, 9 Democrats, 10 'No Party Preference' candidates’, 2 Green Party candidates, and 1 Libertarian.

However, some candidates stand out in the race. They are:

  • Conservative radio talk show host

  • Caitlyn Jenner, former Olympian, and transgender activist

  • John Cox

  • Doug Ose, former congressman

  • Kevin Kiley

  • Kevin Faulconer, former San Diego Mayor

  • Kevin Paffrath, real-estate developer and professional YouTuber

According to the CBS report, Elder has already raised USD 5.5 million for his campaign and poses the highest threat to Newsom in the campaign.

Kevin Paffrath, the 29-year-old YouTuber has been drawing eyeballs in the race given his online popularity and recent poll results. According to a CBS poll, 13 percent of respondents said that they would be select Paffrath as the next governor.


Has a California Governor recalled before?

Yes. In 2003, Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who went on to win a full term in the next election in 2006 as well.

What do polls say?

According to a Guardian report, Newsom enjoys the support of more than 60 percent of voters and is likely to retain office but faces tough competition.

According to a poll conducted by UC Berkley Institute of Governmental Studies and the Los Angeles Times, 47 percent of respondents are likely to support the governor recall compared to 51 percent who oppose it.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Edited By :Padmashree Pande
Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Quint Insider

or more


3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Insider Benefits
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!