California Gov. Gavin Newsom Recall Election to Happen in as Few as 140 Days After Signatures Confirmed

California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will face a recall election as early as 140 days from now as the state's Secretary of State confirmed that the recall's backers submitted enough valid signatures to make it happen.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced the signatures' verification on Wednesday.

Now, the state's Department of Finance has 30 business days to estimate the election's cost. Then, the state's Joint Legislative Budget Committee will have 30 days to review the estimate. Then, the state's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis will schedule the election for 60 to 80 days later, The East Bay Times reported.

The estimated cost for the election is around $215 million.

As of June 3, seven Republicans have officially stepped up to challenge Newsom in the recall election, according to The Los Angeles Times. The challengers include businessman John Cox, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Olympic athlete-turned-reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, former GOP California Representative Doug Ose, Riverside County supervisor Jeff Hewitt, tech businessman Sam Gallucci and gay former U.S. ambassador under President Donald Trump, Ric Grenell.

No Democratic candidates have officially announced their intention to run. However, 10 registered Democrats have filed preliminary paperwork with the Fair Political Practices Commission to run if they so choose.

gavin newsom recall 90 days
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, shown here at a press conference for the official reopening of the state of California at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 15, will face a recall election within 90 days after the signatures requesting his recall were verified on Wednesday. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Only 40 percent of Californians support the recall effort, according to a poll of 1,174 likely voters conducted mid-March by the Public Policy Institute of California. The poll found that 56 percent of respondents oppose the recall effort.

Newsom's opponents collected signatures for the recall as the state experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as ongoing school and business closures. However, public opinion towards Newsom could change as the state experiences the benefits of his recent COVID-19 recovery initiatives.

By the time the recall election occurs, the pandemic's effect on the state could look very different than it does now. However, a probable summer drought, wildfires and resulting power blackouts could deepen voter dissatisfaction with Newsom's leadership.

Despite only being governor for two years, Newsom has already faced five unsuccessful attempts to remove him through recalls. California has some of the most relaxed rules for initiating a recall, according to the state news site Cal Matters. Because of the ongoing pandemic, a judge gave Newsom's opponents nearly twice the usual amount of time to solicit recall signatures.

Newsom has a higher favorability rating than state Governor Gray Davis did when he was recalled from office in 2003. Newsom had a 51 percent approval rating and a 39 percent disapproval rating in a Morning Consult poll conducted almost entirely during January. Comparatively, Davis' approval rating was in the 20s just before he was recalled, according to the statistics site FiveThirtyEight.

The site also notes that California is much more Democratic-leaning now than it was around 2003. In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry received about 54 percent of the state's votes. In 2020, the Democratic presidential nominee received over 63 percent of the state's votes.

Newsom's spokesperson called the recall effort a Republican "scheme" and "a transparently partisan attempt to install a Trump supporter as governor of a state that elected Newsom and rejected Trump in historic landslides," according to KOVR-TV.

Newsweek contacted Newsom's office for comment.