OAKLAND, Calif .– A campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom received his first six-figure brew, highlighting the potential of the effort.
Irvine-based consulting firm Prov 3: 9, LLC has contributed $ 500,000 to one of the committees seeking to hold a recall election in front of California voters. The effort also received around $ 100,000 from Sequoia Capital partner Douglas Leone and his wife Patricia Perkins-Leone, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump and allied Republican groups during the of this last campaign cycle.
Why is this important: Statewide campaigns require a lot of money, typically millions of dollars, and political observers have been watching closely to see if major donors are stepping up for the recall effort. Now the first major sum has landed, boosting the chances of recall.
The background: The long-term recall effort has intensified in recent months as Newsom has come under fire for its handling of the pandemic. The governor’s decision to attend a senior official’s birthday celebration at the lavish French Laundry restaurant crystallized frustration with tight restrictions and a feeling Newsom was breaking the rules.
Promoters received a major boost last month when a judge gave them three more months to collect the roughly 1.5 million signatures they would need to certify a recall. Supporters said they have some 800,000 signatures, but getting enough valid signatures would likely mean collecting close to 2 million, given that a portion of them are generally considered invalid.
The California Republican Party has been promoting this effort, as has former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox. It began to gain national media attention, including blessings from conservative media figures like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Former Gov. Gray Davis’ 2003 recall was successful in part thanks to former Rep. Darrell Issa pouring money into the effort. So far, Newsom’s 2020 recall effort has seen only a handful of smaller five-figure donations.
Donor Information: Prov 3: 9, LLC has very little public record. The company filed documents with the state in 2018, listing Gordon Schaller as a California agent. Subsequent filings mention Schaller, as well as Thomas Liu as a director, with “consulting services” as a type of business.
The company address is CPA White Nelson Diehl Evans in Irvine, where Liu is listed as a partner.
“We have our beliefs about the direction the state should take, and we felt that this effort deserved our contribution,” Liu said in an interview.
Schaller, a licensed Orange County attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The name of the company could refer to Proverbs 3: 9 in the Bible, which says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.”
And after: Half a million dollars is a substantial sum but not yet sufficient to collect all the necessary remaining signatures. But the money could signal the seriousness of the recall to other potential donors, potentially encouraging them to open their wallets.