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Recall Effort in California Gains Momentum

Opponents of California Governor Gavin Newsom seem poised to force a recall election this fall that might result in the removal of the once lauded politician. Newsom has been under intense criticism for his general handling of the pandemic.

Critics allege that the governor has enforced uneven lockdown policies and has not demonstrated urgency about reopening schools. Newsom also invited heightened scrutiny by attending a maskless dinner at a luxury restaurant in Napa Valley.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Recall Effort in California Gains Momentum"


“As recall threat grows, California Gov. Gavin Newsom shifts his governing style, pushing reopenings”
“Map shows where recall Gavin Newsom signatures are coming from in California”
“California special election to recall Newsom to be held this fall, movement leader says”
“California schools debate pins Newsom between allies and GOP recall backers”

“A Recall for Newsom in California? Talk Grows as Governors Come Under Attack”
“California’s Gavin Newsom Will Likely Face A Recall Election — But He’ll Probably Survive It”
“The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, explained”
“Riggs Report: Gov. Newsom recall election looks likely this fall”


  • Writing: Describe the differences between a typical gubernatorial election and a potential recall election in California later this year. What factors will work for and against Governor Newsom in the likely event that he is forced to stand in a recall election?
  • Debate: Do recall elections in California make officeholders more accountable to the public?
  • Poll: Is a recall election counter-majoritarian?
  • Short Answer: How did Governor Newsom, who enjoyed one of the highest approval ratings in the nation during height of the pandemic,  put himself in a position where he will likely be the second governor in modern California history to face the voters in a recall election?

Current events quiz:

1) Who was the last California governor to be removed in a recall election?

a. Arnold Schwarzenegger
b. Gray Davis
c. Jerry Brown
d. Pete Wilson

2) Why do many experts believe that Governor Newsom will ultimately survive the effort to recall him from office?

a. Newsom has maintained an approval rate over 50 percent throughout
b. registered Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in California
c. Newsom has altered his policies to win back support
d. all of the above

3) How many states total allow the recall of state officials, including governors, before their term is up?
a. one
b. fifteen
c. nineteen
d. thirty one

4) There have been fifty-five attempts to recall a governor in California since 1913. (T/F)

5) Governor Newsom was strongly criticized for his early decision to reopen schools for in-person learning. (T/F)

6) Governor Newsom’s most controversial action was the appointment of Alex Padilla to fill Vice President Kamala Harris’s vacant Senate seat. (T/F)


1) B

2) D

3) C

4) True

5) False

6) False


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Featured Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

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