Newsom blasts recall effort, state Democrats contribute $250,000 in his support

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted the recall effort to unseat him, and began a campaign in his defense, supported by the California Democratic Party and top Senate Democrats.

Newsom's team sent emails to his supporters, phone banking volunteers proliferated text messages, and the California Democratic Party funded an online ad that debuted Monday in the first aggressive response to the recall effort against the governor.

The California Democratic Party also showed support for Newsom with $250,000 contributed to keeping him in office.

In the Senate, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders urged Californians to "stop the recall" via their Twitter accounts.

John Dennis, San Francisco's Republican Party chairman, thinks it's too late for Newsom to stop the recall. The group pushing for the recall claims to have more than 2 million signatures, more than enough to qualify for a ballot.

Dennis has been leading local efforts to gather signatures for the recall and says it's not just Republicans who support it.

"Over 40 percent of the signers are not Republicans," Dennis said, noting that Newsom lost support from business owners who have been shut down during the pandemic while other states let businesses open, and people impacted by repeated blackouts amid California's recurring wildfires.

"And then the hypocrisy, that lightning rod moment up in the French Laundry," Dennis said, refering to Newsom's attendance at a birthday party at the high-end Napa County restaurant that apparently violated the state's guidelines on social gatherings. "I think really drove a lot of people to say hey, enough with this guy, he's totally disconnected."

The state will verify the recall campaign's signatures after they're submitted to county election officials by Wednesday, they need 1,495,709 to qualify. 

"Democrats are also going to challenge this on legal terms," David McCuan, a political science professor at Sonoma State University said. "That will carry us past April 1, probably sometime into the April 15 time frame."

A new poll released by Emmerson College found 38 percent of those surveyed would vote Newsom out of office.

"That was within the margin of error," Dennis said. "It's a 50/50 situation right now."