SACRAMENTO (AP) — Three counties have received enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election that could remove a Southern California senator from office and end a Democratic supermajority in the California Legislature, according to counts released Friday.
The attempt to recall Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton is backed by the California Republican Party, anti-tax advocates and talk-radio hosts who are critical of Newman’s vote this year to raise the gasoline tax.
Reports filed by Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties show the organizers submitted more than the 63,593 valid signatures required to recall Newman, with more still to count.
Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla has 10 days certify the signatures results, after which Gov. Jerry Brown must schedule an election within 60 to 80 days.
Democrats say many people were tricked into signing, believing they would trigger a referendum on the gas tax rather than a recall. A Sacramento County Superior Court judge on Friday refused a request by Democrats to block Padilla from certifying the recall, though several legal challenges are pending.
Republicans hope to force an election shortly after the 12-cent-per-gallon tax hike takes effect on Nov. 1. Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to delay the election, arguing people who were tricked into signing the petition should have a chance to take their name off.
Newman barely won last year in a district that has traditionally been represented by Republicans. Replacing him with a Republican would end the Democratic supermajority that allows them to raise taxes without GOP votes.