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In a state that has been criticized by homelessness, rising crime, raging forest fires and sky-high housing prices, Newsom’s performance had come under scrutiny upon arrival. of 2020. Then came Covid-19 and the closures of public schools and many businesses, which angered many Californians and defended Newsom.

Volunteers took to the streets and collected 2.1 million signatures to get the question on the ballot.

Newsom fueled recall forces in November when he was caught having dinner without a mask with lobbyists at a dinner party at the French Laundry, a Tony Napa Valley restaurant, just as he urged Californians to avoid gatherings and to wear face coverings. The move energized pro-recall forces – which won a key extension to collect signatures – and ultimately prompted 46 candidates to add their names to the ballot.

The recall included wild and wacky moments, including Republican John Cox’s decision to feature a living 1,000-pound Kodiak bear named Tag as his campaign mascot. Many of his commercials featured Tag, and Cox presented the election as a choice between “Beauty” (Newsom) and “The Beast” (Cox).


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