When will the Newsom recall election happen? Some Democrats want it as early as August

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Unlike most elections, recall elections in California do not have a set date. For at least the moment, the current one against Governor Gavin Newsom remains to be determined.

State Senator Steve Glazer said Governor Newsom should push for it to be as soon as possible while his poll numbers are high.

"I think he's on a good, positive trajectory in terms of fighting the pandemic, but there's a lot of uncertainty out there," Glazer, a Democrat, told ABC7 News. "Therefore, I think it would be in his interest to have the election sooner than later."

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The actual timing of the election depends on a few factors. Once the recall qualifies in June, as is expected, there will be a 60 day period for the Department of Finance and the legislature to create and approve a budget. The Lieutenant Governor will then set a date for any time within the next 60 to 80 days. While conventional wisdom is to take that full, allotted time, Democrats could move faster with their super majority.

"It is possible it could happen at the end of August," Glazer explained. "Although, I think the more likely possibility is in September after Labor Day."

Darry Sragow, a political strategist and publisher of the California Target Book, described figuring out the recall date as, "like having a ouija board or having someone read you your tarot cards."

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"Right now a lot of political observers, like St. Sen. Glazer, look and say, 'Well, the poll numbers are pretty good. COVID-19 is under control. We haven't had fires. The drought is just beginning to be felt,'" he continued. "So let's just go while the voters are in about as good a mood as they can be."

However, he said there are risks for Democrats in scheduling the recall election too early.

"The argument for waiting longer is that mechanically you just need a certain amount of lead time to reach out to the voters who would be willing to vote against the recall," Sragow said.

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Anne Hyde Dunsmore, the campaign manager for the pro-recall group Rescue California, pointed to other risks.

"If he doesn't win in August someone else is signing those bills in October," Dunsmore said.

On the flip side, if the election happens earlier, Glazer argued Newsom could avoid fallout from any legislative battles that happen come fall.

Dunsmore said she doesn't believe Democrats will wait until November for the election. She said her team will be prepared for whenever the date gets set.

"I can mobilize people on a dime and say, 'Nope. It's not going to be in November, it's going to be now,'" she said. "If that battle is sooner than later, you've got to know that's what happens in these situations."

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Whatever the date, Dunsmore is convinced politics will be a factor.

"Make no mistake, it's up to him," Dunsmore said of Newsom. "He gets to decide August 17, August 24, December 7..."

Glazer, who is the chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee, said he expects the election date, once it is set, will aim to be the most advantageous for Newsom.

"We're going to try and do things, I expect, that are within the governor's interest in terms of the scheduling of the election," he said.

For more stories about the California recall election, click here.
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