Erin Cruz, a former and current GOP candidate for Congress, was the first to get state permission to circulate recall petitions — in September 2019. Image via YouTube.com

Gov. Gavin Newsom is in the clear. He won’t face a recall election this year.

Last week, the California Secretary of State’s Office informed Erin Cruz of Palm Springs that her petition effort to oust the Democratic governor had failed.

Her drive was the second to sputter — following one by La Jolla physician James Veltmeyer, who declared his recall bid dead in January after submitting no signatures.

Robbie Anderson, elections counsel for the office, wrote Cruz that the number of valid signatures she collected fell short of that needed to qualify the recall for the ballot.

“Therefore, this recall effort is deemed over,” Anderson wrote.

Cruz, like Veltmeyer a recurring GOP candidate for Congress, had 160 days to collect 1,495,709 valid signatures of registered voters. She fell about 1.2 million short in a state with 4.94 million Republican voters.

Her final count: 281,917 valid signatures of 352,271 submitted. (San Diego County, with 496,621 registered Republican voters, accounted for 10,429 of her valid signatures.)

The California Republican Party supported the recalls but committed money to neither.

On Tuesday, the state GOP noted that recalls are “tremendously hard” to qualify and even more challenging to win.

“While we all remember the successful recall of Gray Davis, there was a unique set of circumstances – including a multi-millionaire investor who supported the cause,” said a spokesperson, referring to Darrell Issa bankrolling the 2003 signature-gathering drive.

Final Erin Cruz report of recall signatures gathered in California counties (PDF)

“As we work on the California Republican comeback, we must use our resources to win races and build the party,” the spokesperson told Times of San Diego. “While our board supported the recall efforts by Ms. Cruz, we were always very clear that our resources would be dedicated towards winnable seats on the ballot.”

The party said March election results showed a one-seat gain in the Assembly and the GOP “poised for other November victories in the state legislature and Congress.”

“We are very optimistic about the future of our party,” CalGOP said.

In the 36th Congressional District, Cruz took second in the primary to four-term Rep. Raul Ruiz. The Democratic incumbent defeated Cruz by nearly 40 percentage points.

Cruz, 43, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A self-declared Tea Party Republican, Cruz is an author, speaker and mother of two who lost her husband, Rene Leonardo Cruz, to pancreatic cancer in 2013.

Rene Cruz, a native of Zacatecas City, Mexico, was a UC San Diego professor of electrical and computer engineering — a renowned scholar in communication networks credited with establishing the field of network calculus.

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