Californians — or at least some Californians — are fighting back against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s dysfunctional leadership. The nonpartisan California Patriot Coalition has gathered more than 80,000 voters’ signatures in a petition to recall the first-term governor.

The coalition inarguably cites a $54 billion budget deficit, a soaring “crime rate, unaffordable housing, rampant homelessness, failing schools and irresponsible spending” as the causes that motivate it to remove Newsom. Among his questionable spending is a dodgy $1 billion deal with a Chinese manufacturer for personal protection masks.

The group also points to Newsom’s “encroachment” on citizens’ First Amendment rights.

Beyond those offenses, Newsom has violated several federal immigration laws related to harboring illegal immigrants and facilitating their presence. He confirmed that his administration is providing millions of dollars in economic relief to California businesses that don’t otherwise qualify for federal aid, including those owned by immigrants in the state illegally, subjecting him to fines and a possible prison sentence for breaking U.S. code.

The coalition’s journey will be uphill every step of the way. To succeed, the recall effort must collect 1,495,709 signatures by Nov. 17, a total that represents 12 percent of the 12.5 million votes that put Newsom into office.

Two previous efforts to remove him failed. The first netted a mere 281,917 signatures, while the second disbanded once it became clear the necessary signature totals wouldn’t be reached.

In 2018, Newsom was elected California’s 40th governor with 61.9 percent of the vote.

Nevertheless, the coalition’s mission could be successful if several pivotal variables fall into place. First, gathering the required signatures over the next four months is challenging, but achievable. Unquestionably, the elitist, multimillionaire Newsom’s indifference to California’s steep financial and societal decline has disgusted many more than the 1.5 million residents whose signatures are required.

The California Secretary of State’s Office shows that as of Jan. 3, the state has 20.4 million registered voters, 45 percent Democratic, 24 percent Republican and 26 percent who didn’t identify a party affiliation. Doing the rough math, the 45 percent Democratic registered voters translates into 9.1 million potential signatories.

Writing as a California native, I have every confidence that at least half of the 9.1 million registered Democrats are sickened by the state’s sanctuary status, harboring aliens, homeless encampments, feces-littered streets, rat-infested buildings, looting, arson and other crimes now commonly committed from Crescent City to the north to San Diego to the south.

Nevertheless, the daunting task remains. Since 1911, 51 recall attempts have been mounted, and only one, the 2003 campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis succeeded. The California Patriots organization should study the game plan that led to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s elevation from muscleman and action movie hero to California’s last Republican governor.

The Davis recall campaign began when then-Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Congress’ richest man with an estimated net worth during his tenure of $768 million, donated $2 million to Rescue California to gather signatures.

Issa hoped to be California’s next governor, but Schwarzenegger shattered his dreams when he entered the recall race. Issa dropped out, and Schwarzenegger’s candidacy also doomed Davis.

Looking back, the reasons Davis was recalled are chicken feed compared to Newsom’s dereliction of duty.

In 2003, voters charged Davis with mishandling California’s electricity crisis and were angry about increased automotive registration fees, small potatoes when weighed against Newsom turning a blind eye to the state’s complete ruination. Today, no one calls California the “Golden State.”

No high-profile candidate like Schwarzenegger has emerged as a potential Newsom replacement. But the gubernatorial field is open to U.S. citizens and registered California voters.

The Davis election attracted 135 candidates, and only the Bay Area and Los Angeles County voted no on Davis’ recall. Somewhere among the 10 million-plus Republicans and Independents a qualified gubernatorial candidate awaits.

Governing California is a filthy but prestigious job that a determined individual should undertake to save the Golden State from complete devastation.

— Joe Guzzardi is an analyst and researcher with Progressives for Immigration Reform who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Joe Guzzardi

Joe Guzzardi

Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated columnist writing about immigration and related social issues. A California native who now lives in Pittsburgh, he’s a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who can be reached at The opinions expressed are his own.