CA GOP smooths party fractures ahead of recall

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The California Republican Party is attempting to balance on a political tightrope by keeping its eyes on the prize: recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom.

That dynamic was evident at the state GOP’s online convention this weekend, in which chairwoman Jessica Patterson — who was handily reelected — shut down motions that could have exposed party divisions in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, CalMatters’ Ben Christopher reports. A measure to censure Rep. David Valadao, the only California Republican who voted to impeach Trump, was quashed without a vote — though like-minded Republicans in other states didn’t fare so well. And two measures to censure or revoke the membership of political extremists or never-Trumpers were pulled or voted down.

Also withdrawn was a resolution that would have given the party’s executive committee — rather than the full delegation — the ability to endorse a candidate in the potential recall election against Newsom.

  • Patterson“It was dividing us at a time when nothing is more important than being unified and focused on making sure the recall qualifies for the ballot.”

But as the California GOP mobilizes behind the recall — to which it’s donated $125,000 — it will also have to reckon with Trump’s divisive legacy. Even as thousands of Californians left the GOP in the wake of the U.S. Capitol attack, a whopping 65% of the state’s Republicans said they would back Trump if he runs for president in 2024. To help push the recall across the finish line, the party will have to galvanize those voters without alienating disaffected Democrats and small-business owners.

Recall organizers had as of Feb. 5 submitted about 1.1 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed to trigger an election, according to state data released Friday. Of those, around 668,000 were validated, 130,000 were rejected and 296,000 hadn’t been reviewed. Organizers say they’ve gathered around 1.7 million signatures and will continue collecting them until the March 17 deadline.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics. 

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  • CA GOP smooths party fractures ahead of recall

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