Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday February 10, 2021
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Letters to the editor

Recall of Newsom is a political mistake

As a refugee from the Democratic Party, I have some serious political disagreements with Governor Gavin Newsom. However, I cannot go along with those like Carl DeMaio who support his recall ["Newsom recall backers race to meet March deadline," Political Notebook, February 4]. Why? Because for offices above city council and school board recalls almost always backfire. An incumbent — even a bad one — has fantastic fundraising abilities; lots of folks are grateful to an incumbent governor who has signed bills they support and made appointments they like. The "extra " election produced by a recall usually is a fundraising bonanza for the incumbent. Also, the incumbent will get "sympathy" votes from many electors who can be convinced a recall is unfair and will vote no despite policy differences.

That is why in all of U.S. history only two governors have been recalled — Lynn Frazier in Nebraska in 1921 and Gray Davis in California in 2003. An attempted recall of ex-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker failed miserably — Walker even got reelected afterward. The Democrats only beat him by finding a better candidate when Walker sought a third term. Likewise, a 1983 recall attempt against San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein — which had some justification because of her veto of a domestic partner ordinance the supervisors had passed — lost overwhelmingly, and she ended up going to the U.S. Senate.

I am certain the recall attempt against Newsom will be unsuccessful, and might even increase his national profile, making him a serious 2028 presidential candidate. Folks who want Newsom out of office need to find a viable alternative candidate when he's up for reelection in 2022. Remember Donald Trump was not successfully impeached: he lost reelection.

Arlo Hale Smith

San Francisco

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