By CARLA MARINUCCI, Politico
SAN FRANCISCO — California Republican Party chair Jessica Millan Patterson announced Monday the state organization is backing two campaigns to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, with the endorsement tied to a fundraising letter.
“Last weekend, the CA GOP Board of Directors voted to support both recall efforts at the urging of many of our supporters due to the severe lack of leadership Gavin Newsom has provided on the serious issues facing California,’’ Millan Patterson said in a statement to POLITICO.
But Millan Patterson said that “at this time, our resources are focused on key legislative and congressional races and we do not anticipate committing those resources to either recall petition.”
Activists have taken recall papers out on every California governor dating back to Edmund G. “Pat” Brown in 1960, and there have been 51 attempts to remove governors since 1913, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Only one — that of Gray Davis in 2003 — was ever successful, in part due to the celebrity of his GOP challenger, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Without resources from the state GOP, both of the longshot recall efforts by two failed congressional candidates face an uphill battle for funding, and both have to date received little widespread support. Campaign finance data from the California Secretary of State’s office show that the two committees have raised less than $53,000 total.
One effort is fronted by physician James Veltmeyer, a former Republican congressional candidate from San Diego who has raised almost $48,000 with a committee called the “Californians to Recall Gavin Newsom” coalition. Veltmeyer’s website says Newsom has mishandled California tax policy, homelessness and illegal immigration issues.
Erin Cruz, another GOP congressional candidate who has been affiliated with the Tea Party, has amassed just $5,000 through her organization called the RAN Action Fund. Cruz already failed on her first attempt to recall Newsom this year as part of a flurry of filings to remove Democrats from seven statewide offices, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
A November PPIC poll showed 48 percent of California voters approve of the job Newsom is doing, while 45 percent disapprove. Comparatively, 43 percent approved when he took office in January, and just 29 percent disapproved.
Rob Pyers, an analyst with the nonpartisan California Target book, tweeted Monday that the two longshot recall efforts have been seized upon by the embattled CAGOP — which holds no statewide offices — as a fundraising tool in advance of a critical election year.
“Merits aside, power move by the CA GOP in co-opting the clickbait messaging to ensure that money that would otherwise be flushed down the drain to the grifter recall committees gets diverted to the state party instead,” he wrote.