NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — As the recall petition signatures to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom pour into the Rescue California mailroom, Anne Hyde Dunsmore is becoming more certain Californians will see a recall election this year.
"Everybody here has lived through the policies that don’t work and they want to do something about it," Dunsmore said. "They’re not hurting anybody, they’re just making their voices heard."
What You Need To Know
- Rescue California is a political committee that orchestrated the 2003 recall election of former California Gov. Gray Davis
- The Newsom recall effort has allegedly collected 1.1 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed by March
- Anne Hyde Dunsmore reported that getting signatures to support Newsom’s ouster has been like shooting fish in a barrel
- California Democratic Party officials have termed the recall effort an “attempted coup”
Rescue California is a political committee that orchestrated the 2003 recall election of former California Gov. Gray Davis. Dunsmore, who is the former finance chair of the California Republican Party, now serves as campaign manager for the recall effort. Her team has spent months gathering signatures to place the recall on the ballot.
According to Dunsmore, they have collected 1.1 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed by March. Volunteers have been logging up to 18 hours a day filing away petitions from all California counties.
Dunsmore recalled working on the Gray Davis recall movement and said getting signatures to support Newsom’s ouster has been like shooting fish in a barrel.
"You can’t even equate the two," she said. "The energy is insane. I think the thing that struck me the most is that it is really the baby boomers. He has really just gone too far with the largest demographic in the nation. They just want their quality of life back."
Dunsmore explained that her team has a laundry list of grievances against Newsom. At the top of the list is his handling of the pandemic: from shutting down beaches and businesses, to the state’s unemployment benefits fraud that doled out as much as $1 billion to prisoners, to the uproar caused by Newsom’s dinner at the French Laundry, which critics dubbed as hypocritical.
"This guy is the gift that keeps on giving," said Dunsmore. "I mean we think we have what we need and then he does something else. There hasn’t been time to get answers to the last problem before he creates a new one. Now we’ve got the vaccines and the rollout is not going at all well. We’re behind almost every state in the country.”
California Democratic Party officials have termed the recall effort an "attempted coup," calling its supporters "reTrumplicans" and the organization’s chair even linked the recall movement to the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol.
“Some of the same individuals and groups who were encouraged by California Republican leaders and attacked the People’s House, are also engaged in the Recall Gov. Gavin Newsom effort right here in California,” said Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to the organization for further comment, as well as to Orange County Democrats, but did not receive response.
In a press conference at Dodger Stadium Friday, Newsom said he was focused on distributing vaccines rather than on the recall effort.
As for Dunsmore, she said there is nothing more democratic than a peaceful process like collecting petition signatures and added that her committee denounces the violence in D.C., as well as any plans to turn upcoming rallies into a stage for chaos.
"I don’t think you’re going to see any volunteers in this room storming the Capitol," she said. "Not our style."
A 3,000-person rally that was planned for the California Capitol in Sacramento on Sunday had its permit application denied. Despite the application indicating the event was meant, in part, to collect signatures for the recall movement, Rescue California said it had no involvement.
"That’s not us," said Dunsmore. "If there were protests at the state Capitol, I would hope people express these very important issues with care and caution for their fellow citizens. I mean we are all in this together. We have to make California great again and we can do it together. We can’t do it fighting each other."