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CALIFORNIA — Top supporters driving the gubernatorial recall effort filed a lawsuit last week to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom from painting the election as a Republican power grab in official voter guides that will be mailed to voters later this month.

The suit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, was scheduled for a court hearing Wednesday afternoon, according to multiple reports.

In the official recall argument form, filed July 15, Newsom maintains that the recall’s leading supporters are “the same national Republicans who fought to overturn the presidential election and launched efforts to undermine the right to vote across the country.”

Newsom’s counter-campaign in March, “Stop the Republican Recall,” has repeatedly maintained that the recall effort was created by supporters of former President Donald Trump, extremists and those who oppose vaccination for COVID-19.

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The lawsuit argues that state election law does not allow arguments in the official voter’s guide that are false and misleading since not all of the candidates are Republican or Trump supporters.

“This case is purely about making sure the taxpayer-paid voter information guide contains the truth,” Eric P. Early, the lead lawyer for the recall campaign told the Los Angeles Times. He has also announced his candidacy for state attorney general in the upcoming 2022 election.

Plaintiffs Orrin E. Heatlie and Mike Netter are asking a state judge to edit parts of Newsom’s ballot statement before the voter guides are mailed en masse, the Associated Press reported.

Heatlie and Netter maintain that the election is not a “Republican recall.” Among the 46 recall election candidates certified by the secretary of state’s office, 24 are Republican.

Nathan Click, Newsom’s campaign spokesperson, called the campaign “totally baseless.”

“Republicans know they can’t win in a normal election year, so they are trying to force a special election and grab power,” he said in a statement, according to the AP.

Ballots for the Sept. 14 election will start arriving in mailboxes around the Golden State later this month. Voters will be asked whether Newsom should be recalled and who should replace him. If more than 50 percent of voters cast a ballot to recall Newsom, the replacement candidate with the largest share of votes will win the governor’s seat.

The recall sprouted in February 2020 before the pandemic severely upended life in California. The effort gained significant traction after Newsom was seen dining at Napa Valley’s French Laundry restaurant with top health brass and lobbyists during the same week he told Californians to stay home.

Recall supporters have argued that Newsom’s response to the pandemic was disastrous for businesses and that his leadership revealed serious fissures within the state’s crime rates, homelessness and unemployment agency after an audit found widespread fraud.
“This is — and forgive me — a Republican-backed recall where the principal proponent of the recall effort wants to microchip immigrants,” Newsom has said. “These folks don’t believe in science let alone climate science, and they don’t believe in the science behind this pandemic. There’s a lot at stake for Californians in this race.”

What’s A Recall?
California has had recall elections as part of its political system since 1911. The process allows the public to attempt to remove an elected public official from office before the end of his or her term. Before a recall election can be initiated, a certain number of voters must sign a recall petition within a specified amount of time.

The state has had 54 previous attempts to recall California governors. Only one governor was recalled in California’s history: Gray Davis in 2003.

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