As rising temperatures increase pressure on California's power grid, they're also being weaponized politically to put the heat on Gov. Gavin Newsom in his recall election.
"This is politics," said Raphe Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State Los Angeles. "Basically, they're trying to win and... if you see something on the horizon that could be a problem for the governor, then it would make sense to aim at that."
Several of those hoping to win Newsom's office are looking to use this week's Flex Alerts and potential power outages in the future to their advantage. Among them is Republican challenger John Cox who tweeted, "Gavin Newsom may be power-hungry, but California shouldn't be. We need real leadership to fix our broken power grid."
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Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is also running against Newsom, retweeted, "Last year, CA experienced rolling blackouts for the first time in 20+ years. Now, Californians are being warned that this unacceptable reality may be occurring again as temperatures heat up into the weekend."
The Republican candidate tells our sister station KABC: "This energy grid failure is another example of the continued failures of Gavin Newsom who can't even keep the lights on."
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Newsom undoubtedly fears a Texas-like grid disaster. The power system there collapsed last winter, leaving millions without electricity, heat or hot water.
As this week's heat wave sets in, the governor signed an emergency proclamation. It suspended certain permitting requirements, allowing power plants to ramp up operations if necessary.
Newsom is also going on the offensive. He released his first recall-related television ad this week. It highlights his programs steering billions of dollars to low-income and middle-class residents and small businesses, as well as providing free preschool for all children.
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Sonenshein sees this as problematic for Newsom's challengers.
"Arguing against the governor giving out prizes is not the world's most effective political strategy against the governor," he said. "This is a year when people want things and they want things from the government."