Newsom Vows to Fight 'Republican Recall' as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders Offer Support

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday put forth his strongest condemnation to date of an ongoing recall effort to remove him from office, joining several high-profile Washington Democrats in labeling it a GOP-funded hit job.

Newsom has largely focused his public comments toward the pandemic relief effort across the state, despite an increasingly well-funded and organized signature campaign to recall him from office. Republican critics had for weeks suggested he was ignoring the recall effort even as conservative organizers amassed more than the 1.5 million signatures required from California residents. But on Monday, Newsom aimed his criticism squarely at former President Donald Trump and other national Republicans he says are behind the concerted effort to smear him out of office.

"I won't be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall—but I will fight it. There is too much at stake. Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk," Newsom tweeted Monday, linking to a fundraising page entitled Stop the Republican Recall.

Several high-profile offers of support poured in Monday from Washington Democrats and progressives alike. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders denounced the recall and characterized it as a Republican smear campaign against a proven leader.

Some of Donald Trump's biggest donors are funding the Republican recall attempt in California. Today, @GavinNewsom launched his campaign to fight back. Donate to help Stop The Republican Recall:

— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) March 15, 2021

"Gavin Newsom has shown the nation what courageous leadership looks like during the pandemic," Booker wrote on his website. "He's made tough calls that kept Californians safe and helped them recover financially. Defeating this cynical, Republican recall effort will be one of the most important priorities for Democrats this year."

Longtime political allies also came to his side, including former California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Appointed by Newsom to his current U.S. Senate office in December, Padilla accused pro-Trump Republicans of using national funding to promote the recall movement.

"Some of Donald Trump's biggest donors are funding the Republican recall attempt in California. Today, @GavinNewsom launched his campaign to fight back. Donate to help Stop The Republican Recall," Padilla tweeted Monday.

The California Democratic Party contributed $250,000 to push back against the recall election effort and has worked with national Democrats to kickstart fundraising campaigns.

"The Republican National Committee, wealthy Trump donors and right-wing extremists have joined forces to disrupt California's road to recovery," party chair Rusty Hicks said in a statement. "Despite the efforts by the GOP to take us back to some of our darkest days, CADEM is prepared to mobilize our grassroots people power and make it clear to voters that the Democratic Party is the only party focused on protecting the health and safety of all Californians and their families."

Under California state law, 1.49 million verified signatures are required by submission by March 17—that number is 12 percent of the votes cast in the previous November election. Newsom would be the second California governor to be successfully recalled from office, which last occurred with Gray Davis in 2003.

Newsweek reached out to Sanders' and Warren's offices for additional remarks, as well as Newsom's offices in Sacramento.

Gavin Newsom recall election
California Governor Gavin Newsom vowed on Monday to fight a GOP-led recall effort he said is politically motivated. In the photo above, Newsom prepares to give a briefing after touring a COVID-19 vaccination site on February 22, 2021 in Long Beach, California. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images