California legislative leaders on Thursday vowed to hold an early gubernatorial recall election and pick up the tab after the state Finance Department estimated a $215 million cost.
“Our local communities don’t deserve to be saddled with unnecessary recall costs as they work to recover from the pandemic,” said Senate President Toni Atkins of San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood. “The Legislature will lift the burden from their plate and include $215 million in the budget bill to have the state cover the costs.”
The two Democrats noted hat state funding will allow for an earlier recall election, in which numerous Republicans are vying to succeed Gov. Gavin Newsom if voters recall him.
“By providing counties with the funding they need, we can waive the required period for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to review the election costs,” Atkins and Rendon said in their statement.
The preliminary projection from the state Finance Department comes about a month after a coalition of county officials urged the Legislature to provide funding to cover the cost of a recall election.
An election date has not been set, but it is widely expected to be held in the fall. The latest public opinion polls show Newsom likely to survive a recall, prompting some supporters to recommend an early election.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is one of the leading contenders to succeed Newsom, issued a statement defending the cost of the election. “Given Newsom’s track record, recalling him will save California billions,” said Gus Portela, Faulconer’s press secretary.