Davis To Face Recall Election
Secretary Of State Makes Announcement Late Wednesday
POSTED: 6:31 p.m. PDT July 23, 2003
UPDATED: 6:48 p.m. PDT July 23, 2003
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Gray Davis became the nation's first governor in 82 years to face a recall election, as California's secretary of state announced Wednesday that a Republican-led campaign once discounted as improbable had qualified for the ballot.
Davis, a career Democratic politician who was elected in a landslide in 1998 before his popularity plunged amid California's energy crisis and budget deficit, must face the electorate in 60 to 80 days, according to state law.
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said in a news conference that counties had reported 1.3 million valid petition signatures, "more than 110 percent of the required signatures."
Lt. Gov Cruz Bustamante said Wednesday he will schedule a recall election a day after Shelley's announcement. County elections officials have discussed Sept. 23, Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 as possible election dates.
However it was unclear whether voters would choose among potential successors to Davis at that same election. Although the secretary of state's office has long held that a vote on the recall would be on the same ballot as a list of replacement candidates, Bustamante said his role was only to set the date, not to decide whether the recall ballot would include a list of possible replacements.
He has sought legal clarification.
Despite the uncertainty, Wednesday's announcement was expected to touch off a mad scramble among potential candidates. If the recall election is held at the same time as the replacement election, they will have just days to announce whether they plan to run. They must declare their candidacies at least 59 days before the election.
The only declared major-party candidate so far is U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and businessman Bill Simon, both Republicans, are considering running, and Simon planned to make an announcement at a recall rally Saturday in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger has said he has not decided whether or not he will run.
The state's Democratic officeholders have closed ranks behind Davis and say they will not run.
If the recall proceeds according to Shelley's interpretation, the ballot would have two parts: The first section would ask people to vote yes or no on whether to recall Davis and the second would provide a list of candidates to choose from in the event he is recalled. Davis' name may not be included on that list.
If a majority of voters support the recall, Davis would be replaced by the candidate with the most votes, meaning a candidate in a large field could be elected governor with a relatively small percentage of the overall vote.
Davis allies had sought in recent days to block certification of the recall, asking courts not to allow Shelley to certify the election until their allegations of petition fraud by recall proponents were investigated. Some experts thought the litigation might at least delay certification long enough that Bustamante could consolidate the election with the state's March presidential primary, when a heavy Democratic turnout could help Davis.
Those efforts failed, however, and though more legal battles could lie ahead, opponents and proponents were preparing for a bruising and costly recall election.
Davis allies, backed by organized labor, were predicting he would beat the recall. Recent polls have indicated, however, that while the vote would be close, he would lose. The last governor to undergo a recall was North Dakota Gov. Lynn J. Frazier, who was recalled in 1921.
Davis, 60, a career politician who has won statewide office in California five times, was re-elected governor just last November, defeating Simon.
Although he was elected to his first term in 1998 by a landslide, Davis' standing plunged during California's energy crisis of 2000-01. A budget crisis further eroded his popularity and he won re-election by just 5 points in November over Simon, a novice candidate with a weak campaign.
This year's $38.2 billion budget deficit has already caused the state's car tax to triple, and Davis' approval rating has continued to sink.
But the fuel for the recall came from Issa, who pumped $1.71 million of his car alarm fortune into the drive starting in May. That transformed it from a long-shot nursed by Republican activists into a reality. Thirty-one previous attempts to recall California governors had failed to reach the ballot.
The involvement of Issa, a little-known conservative, has allowed Davis and his allies to cast the recall as a right-wing attempt to hijack the state, where Democrats have a 9-percentage-point registration advantage over Republicans.
Polls have also shown that voters are also concerned about the $30 million to $35 million cost of a special election, and about the prospect that a candidate could win with relatively few votes.
Recall proponents argue that the cost of Davis' mismanagement of the state greatly outweighs the cost of a special election. They accuse him of lying about the size of the budget deficit to win re-election, which he denies.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Fire Breaks Out In State Capitol
Small Office In Governor's Suite Damaged
POSTED: 8:22 a.m. PDT July 23, 2003
UPDATED: 12:26 p.m. PDT July 23, 2003
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Fire crews were called to the state Capitol late Tuesday after a small fire broke out in an office in the governor's suite.
Firefighters responded about 10 p.m., and said the blaze probably started in a light fixture in the small office, damaging ceiling tiles.
"There is nothing in there right now that makes this look like a purposeful issue. (It) is some sort of electrical basis," Sacramento City Fire Department spokesman David Whitt said.
Workers were evacuated, but no one was in the office at the time of the fire, according to authorities.
Damage is estimated at $20,000.
All employees were expected back to work Wednesday.
Copyright 2003 by TheKCRAChannel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
State Supreme Court Declines To Halt Recall
Pro-Davis Forces Charged Signatures Were Obtained Fraudulently
POSTED: 11:34 a.m. PDT July 25, 2003
UPDATED: 12:01 p.m. PDT July 25, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court declined Friday to halt the recall vote of Gov. Gray Davis.
The move came two days after the state's top election official announced that opponents had gathered enough signatures to call a special election, and a day after Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante set the Oct. 7 election date.
The high court's action, for the moment at least, leaves the recall date intact despite allegations that signatures on recall petitions were improperly gathered. Still, the allegations will be heard in a Los Angeles court Aug. 8 and the outcome could come back to the state Supreme Court.
The Republican-dominated court was responding to an emergency petition by pro-Davis forces. They charged that the 900,000 signatures of registered voters required to force an election were obtained fraudulently.
Bustamante Denies Power Grab
Shelley Makes Recall Announcement
Davis Vows To Fight
The court did not rule on the merits of the charges. Instead, the court declined to intervene in what is expected to be fierce litigation in Los Angeles.
The Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall group, in their petition to the justices, alleged that many of the thousands of paid signature gatherers -- receiving up to $1 for every signature of a registered voter they gathered -- were themselves not registered voters or California residents.
State law, amended in 2001, demands that signature gatherers for recall elections be registered voters and California residents.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, bankrolled the recall drive with $1.7 million of his own money and has declared his intention to put his name on the ballot. Issa and other Republican forces have been highly critical of Davis as being responsible for steering California into a $38 billion deficit.
Friday's legal action, for now, leaves unscathed the first recall election against a sitting California governor. Two days earlier, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced that Davis opponents had gathered enough signatures of registered voters to force an election.
The case is Robins v. Shelley, S117661.
Davis Recall Election Set For Oct. 7
1.3 Million Recall Petition Signatures Certified As Valid
POSTED: 8:27 a.m. PDT July 24, 2003
UPDATED: 5:30 p.m. PDT July 24, 2003
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Gray Davis will face a recall election on Oct. 7, the lieutenant governor said Thursday, giving his fellow Democrat less than three months to campaign to keep his job or become only the second governor in the nation ever to be recalled.
The announcement by Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante came the morning after the secretary of state certified that the Republican-led drive to recall Davis had collected more than enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.
State law required Bustamante to set the election date 60 to 80 days from Wednesday's certification.
Davis faces the nation's first gubernatorial recall election in 82 years, and it will be a first in California.
Bustamante said the recall election would have two parts, with voters first deciding whether or not to oust Davis and then choosing from a list of candidates to replace him. People voting "no" to the recall would still have the opportunity to cast a vote in the second part.
Bustamante had thrown that scenario into question this week when he refused to say whether he would call a replacement election on the same ballot. If the recall were approved without a replacement, Bustamante could have become governor, at least temporarily, under the state's Constitution.
State officials have already accepted 1.3 million valid signatures on petitions that asked for the vote.
Davis was elected in a landslide and re-elected last fall, but his popularity has plunged in recent months over California's budget deficit, an energy crisis and a slumping economy.
Davis calls the Republican-led drive to oust him "a hostile takeover by the right." He said he would fight and win.
Wednesday's announcement was expected to touch off a mad scramble among potential candidates. If the recall election is held at the same time as the replacement election, candidates will have just days to announce whether they plan to run. They must declare their candidacies at least 59 days before the election.
The only declared major-party candidate so far is U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and businessman Bill Simon, both Republicans, are considering running, and Simon planned to make an announcement at a recall rally Saturday in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger has said he has not decided whether he will run.
The state's Democratic officeholders have closed ranks behind Davis and say they will not run.
Who can run as a replacement candidate?
A replacement candidate must meet existing legal qualifications and requirements to run for the office of Governor. For example, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, a registered voter and otherwise qualified to vote for that office at the time nomination papers are issued.
Will a replacement candidate's party affiliation and occupation be noted on a recall ballot?
Yes. A replacement candidate's occupation and party affiliation will be included on the ballot.
How does the nomination process for replacement candidates work?
A replacement candidate must follow the general nomination procedures to run for the office of Governor and must file the required paperwork no less than 59 days before a scheduled recall election.
Candidates must obtain 65 nomination signatures (from members of their own party) and must pay a $3,500 filing fee (or submit 10,000 signatures in lieu of the fee). The candidate must also file nomination papers, including a declaration of candidacy.top
Do campaign contribution laws apply to recall elections?
The Fair Political Practices Commission is responsible for providing advice about campaign finance issues. They have issued a fact sheet indicating that contribution limits do apply to the replacement candidates. The limits do not apply to the target of the recall or to the committees sponsoring or opposing the recall drive itself.
Are campaign contribution and expenditure reports for the recall committees and candidates available on the Secretary of State's web site?
Yes. Recall committees are required to file contribution and spending reports. Also, the replacement candidates and the target of the recall are required to file these disclosure reports.
When would a new Governor take office?
It can take up to 28 days for county elections officials to complete the official canvass. Once the results are official, then the Secretary of State will certify the election and the new Governor would take the oath of office and assume the position.