California Democrats launch effort to discredit growing campaign to recall Gov. Newsom

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The efforts to recall Governor Gavin Newsom are gaining steam, and Democratic party officials seem to know it.

The California Democratic Party on Tuesday launched their first public effort to push back against the growing campaign, which has already amassed roughly 1.1 million signatures.

In a press conference, party officials and lawmakers across the state attempted to draw a parallel between the recall efforts in California and the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, claiming without specific evidence that the same "extremists" who stormed the Capitol are trying to take down Newsom.

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A campaign is gaining momentum to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom based off of how he has handled the pandemic.

Democratic Party chairman Rusty Hicks went so far as to describe the recall effort as a "coup."

"This recall effort, which really ought to be called 'the California coup,' is being led by right-wing conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers, and groups who encourage violence on our Democratic institutions," Hicks said.

Hicks was joined by San Francisco Assemblymember David Chiu and other local elected leaders. ABC7 News sent a follow-up request to the California Democratic Party requesting specific examples to back up these claims, but has not yet heard back.

Tom Del Beccaro is the chairman of -- one of the two groups working on the recall effort. He said they are on track to hit the roughly 1.5 million signatures needed to force a special recall election and are aiming for even more. He believes Tuesday's press conference shows the Democratic Party is getting scared.

"I think what the Democrats are doing is shameful and will fuel more and more people signing," Del Beccaro, who lives in Walnut Creek, told ABC7 News. "It's shameful and the governor should denounce it."

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Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell told ABC7 News he was in in the Capitol Building when "dozens" of his Republican colleagues and their staff members refused to put on masks and laughed when they were asked to do so.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist and ABC7 News contributor Phil Matier said the Democrats' strategy is to make the recall efforts look as unappealing to mainstream Republicans as possible.

"If you can discredit the recall effort by tying it in with what happened in Washington, then maybe you can get what they call 'white glove' Republican donors to hold off from giving the group any money," Matier said.

Del Beccaro, a Republican, said the recall effort has nothing to do with what happened at the Capitol. He would not reveal his own political stance on the presidential election or the riots at the Capitol because he believes it's not relevant.

"We've gotten 1.1 million (signatures). Those aren't all Republicans," he said. "There are many Democrats who are small business owners that want to be able to open up and make a living and they can't in this state like they could in Florida. And so that's what's driving this."
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