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Democratic State Sen. Josh Newman Facing Recall Election

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

State Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, urges lawmakers to approve a measure to change the rules governing recall elections Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

California State Sen. Josh Newman is facing a recall election after the California Republican Party says it submitted 85,000 signature on Tuesday, enough to trigger the recall election. That’s about a third more than the minimum necessary to qualify, which would provide a buffer for duplicate or invalid signatures.

Newman currently represents California’s 29th Senate District, which covers parts of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

The recall effort was sparked after Sen. Newman voted to pass Senate Bill 1, a $5.2 billion annual tax towards gas and vehicle registrations without voter approval.

“Voters in Senate District 29 have made their opposition to Newman’s vote on the gas tax and car tax increases very clear. The speed with which voters signed the petitions is a testament to the anger they feel towards these tax increases and a fear of what liberal Josh Newman might decide to tax next,” stated California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte in a press release.

The Committee to Recall Josh Newman is funded by the anti-tax group the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association. Jon Coupal is the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association.

On the “Fire Josh Newman” webpage, Coupal explains that it was the attempt to increase the gas tax that ultimately led to Gov. Gray Davis’ successful recall.  

Coupal adds that “it is readily apparent that Josh Newman is a bad fit for the Senate district he represents. Yes, he was duly elected, but only by the slimmest of margins. This is a district that should have been relatively easy win for a fiscal conservative. However, as we know from the statewide vote, many voters expressed strong negative feelings for the Republican at the top of the ticket — Donald Trump — and even those Republicans and independents who weren’t thrilled with Hillary Clinton, many still couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Trump. But Donald Trump won’t be on the ballot in a recall election which vastly increases the chances for success.”

California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman appeared on California Edition to speak against the possible Newman recall.

“I unfortunately have a little bit of experience with recalls. This is not my favorite arena in the works since I helped run the campaign that was not successful to protect Gov. Davis,” Bauman said.

“Here’s the thing. This guy came into office, took a Republican seat on the basis of his persona, on the basis of his relationship with the military, to veterans, on the basis of a set of policy planks and beliefs that are frankly quite in tune with that district, and we’re going to have to fight it out.” Bauman continued.  The announcement comes on the same day Gov. Jerry Brown signed a budget bill that could delay when the recall occurs.

Senate Bill 96 was approved by Gov. Brown on June 27, and adds a period of 30 business days where voters who signed the petition may withdraw their signatures in the allotted time.

A successful recall of Newman would cost Democrats their supermajority in the state Senate.

Hilda Toribio Flores contributed to this report. 

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