Gavin Newsom was depicted as a dictator on a rally sign in June. Photo by Chris Stone

Organizers of the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom said they have submitted more than 2.1 million signatures, a number likely to ensure a recall election later this year.

Recall backers said late Wednesday they had submitted 2,117,730 signatures by the deadline. They only need 1,495,709 million valid signatures from registered voters — 12% of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election — so there is a comfortable margin even if the Secretary of State rejects many.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is running to replace Newsom, said the recall effort is the beginning of a “California comeback.”

“Our statewide movement has taken a giant step toward removing Gavin Newsom from office. Over 2.1 million Californians — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — have signed this recall petition and made it clear that they are ready to turn the page on an elitist administration that has disregarded science while hurting millions of California families,” he said on Thursday.

Faulconer is joined by fellow Republicans John Cox, a former gubernatorial candidate from Rancho Santa Fe, and Doug Ose, a former Congressmen, in seeking to be elected governor. Former Trump administration official Richard Grenell is also considering entering the race.

Under California’s unusual recall process, if a majority votes to recall Newsom, then whichever competing candidate gets the most votes will become governor, even without winning a majority.

Newsom has acknowledged that he expects the recall to qualify for the ballot. He also criticized the need for a special recall election, calling it a waste of time and money because the 2022 gubernatorial primary will be a few months later.

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner, a co-chair of the recall effort, said that no matter how close the re-election campaign is it is still appropriate to push for a recall as soon as possible.

“Gavin can do a lot of damage between now and then,” Wagner said.

“Even if Gavin survives the recall or the public says no to Gavin, but yes to another Democrat there’s something to be said for keeping whoever is governor focused on the fact that you need to be responsive to the public.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.