Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Is turnout going to be decisive in the recall? A Deep Dive into the data and what we can learn from California's voting patterns

(Sorry, but I better put a link for the book up top -- and it's also available to read for subscribers on Taegan Goddard's Political Wire).

Throughout the Newsom recall campaign, there has been a focus on the importance of voter turnout. There is an expectation that, due to the fact that it is a special election, there will be low turnout, which would be an advantage for the recall proponents (who are already motivated to come out). It is true that many legislative and local recalls have low turnout, but this has not been the case for past gubernatorial (or even high-profile mayoral) recalls. In fact, in each of the three gubernatorial recalls, we saw a turnout boom. We've also seen that officials are slightly more likely to survive a special election recall vote than they are one that takes place on a general or primary election day.

How would decreased turnout help the recall proponents and increased turnout help Newsom? Let's look at the numbers and how it played out in 2003 to see what numbers both sides may need to hit to win.

Play the numbers, play the odds

In 2003, the vote went 55.4-44.6% against Davis. We have one big exit polls from that election to work with, the Edison/Mitofsky Poll. Among voters, 88% of Republicans voted for the recall, while only 76% Democrats voted to oppose it. Effectively, Democrats were twice as likely to vote in favor of the recall as Republicans were to oppose it.  No Party/Others were in favor of the recall 53-47%. If voter turnout was the same across the board, based on registration numbers below, under those percentages Davis would have done three points better, though still losing with a 47.4% margin. Instead, the Republicans’ clear turnout advantage pushed down those numbers.

In the 18 years since, voter registration numbers have changed radically. Democrats now make up 46.5% percent of registered voters and Republicans only 24.1%. The Democrats do not have an absolute majority, as 23.3% list No Party preference and 6.2% are in the Other category.  How do these numbers compare to 2003 and what does it mean for the recall? Well, Democrats haven’t done so much better in the years since – in 2003, they were at 44.1%. But Republicans have cratered, dropping more than 11 points – down from 35.3%.

If we use the 2021 registration numbers, and take the same percentage breakdown as in the exit poll, we can see how much how much has changed and how turnout can matter. Assuming equal turnout, we have an almost five point swing in the Democrats’ favor, with Newsom winning with 52% of the vote. But again, turnout wasn't equal, and Davis lost three points due to differential turnout. If the same thing were to happen here, that could be the difference maker in a tight race.

Low Cards are what I've got, but I'll play this hand whether I like it or not

But that part may be academic. I suspect we’re very unlikely to see a similar partisan breakdown in a heightened political environment, which means that Democrats are more likely to vote for Newsom and Republicans are more likely to vote against. 

Looking at the recent polls, we see a range of numbers on this: The Berkeley IGS poll, which has the race at 50-47, suggests that 97% of Trump voters support a recall and 86% of Biden voters oppose one. The Emerson poll had it at 48-46% with a seemingly rosy bi-partisan view -- Republicans split 80/16 in favor of a recall, and Democrats 23/73. Independents actually push the recall forward with 54/34 numbers, with an enormous undecided number there. There are two blow out polls: Survey USA shows Newsom losing 40-51%, with the Republicans up 8:1 in favor of the recall and Newsom only at 3:1 among Democrats (mimicking the exit polls from 2003). Change Research has Newsom up 57-42 (though they don’t seem to have a partisan breakdown). The CBS Poll, which has the race at 50-47, sees 92-8 recall vote from Republicans, 15-85 against the recall from Democrats and 49-51 against from independents. 

All use a likely voter number that benefits the pro-recall forces and all show that the Republicans are more likely to vote for the recall than the Democrats are to vote against it -- which frankly feels correct based on those exit polls and the more hunkered down nature of the political environment. But the more polarized the electorate, the better for Newsom. If we use that 2003 baseline, he has a pool of 24 points from his party to try to gain support from. Republicans can only gain from those 12 percent of nos.

One possible thought that could comfort Republicans is that the party’s numbers have fallen so much, primarily to the No Party/Other preference because, of social pressure – people do not want to publicly identify as Republicans in a Democratic region. If this is the case, perhaps the Republicans can do better with the non-Democrats. But recent election numbers don’t seem to bear out any such thoughts from voters. Thanks to California’s top-two system, and looking at the presidential races, we have a close approximation of the recall and how a no-party or independent voter casts their ballot. And they seem to split close to the middle, arguably with a slight lean to the Democratic side.

In 2014, Jerry Brown won 60-40. The registration numbers were a bit better for Republicans that year -- 43.4% Democrat, 28.2% Republican. In 2018, Newsom won 62-38, and the registration numbers show Republicans' fall -- 43.8 percent Democrat, 24.5 Republican. But in each case, the two Democrats outperformed what we may think based solely on registration numbers.

So either Democrats had better turnout, Republicans were more likely to vote Democrat or those independents split in favor of the Democrats. Republicans are believed to have better turnout in California than Democrats. If so, than it would suggest that no-party/other breaks even more for Democrats.

But the recent general election numbers may mean something as well. I’d prefer to do this as a table, but it seems challenging on the blogging program, so bear with me. We’re going to look at the presidential and the gubernatorial numbers. Turnout for the presidential race is always going to be the highest.

Let's look at the actual numbers as well, including the presidential totals. The 2020 presidential election saw a voting boom on both sides of the aisle. That is almost certainly represents the ceiling of what the candidates can hope for from just their supporters. Biden got 11,110,250 and Trump got 6,006,429. The 2016 election saw Clinton at 8,753,788 and Trump at 4,448,3819.  In both of these elections, we saw about a 30 point gap in the Democrats favor.

Gubernatorial races, especially during the top-two era, show a similar picture. 2018 actually saw very high turnout, with Republican John Cox topping Trump’s 2016 numbers. Cox got 4,742,825, though that was a drop in the bucket compared to Newsom’s 7,721,410 – Newsom won by almost 24 points. 2014, the first year of top-two, saw much lower voter numbers, as Brown won 60-40, though the raw numbers were 4,388,368-2,929,213.  

If the presidential race is really a ceiling, the six million is probably a key figure. Pro-recall forces need to get those voters out, while Democrats have quite a bit more of a cushion, as Biden got over 11 million and Newsom got 7.7 million. The challenge for the Republicans is whether Newsom's number can drop enough for them to win. 

Can persuasion work? I haven’t done any study, but from memory, the focus on turnout over persuasion seems to have taken off in the post-2000 world – no surprise that this happened after an election decided by 537 votes. I’m skeptical of this overemphasis on turnout for two reasons (in general elections. Primaries are a different animal). For one, increasing turnout tactics can run into Newton’s third law – there is a reaction (admittedly not necessarily equal) and result in a turnout increase on the other side. 2020 is a good example of this. Turnout increases seem to work for at best one election, and that’s usually only if the other side doesn’t have voter anger on their side. The other reason is that persuasion is really valuable. In a zero-sum election, persuading a voter is worth 2 points – one for you, minus one for your opponent, versus turnout, which is just one for you.

The Moral of the Story is Plain to See

During the 2012 recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, we saw a turnout boom from four million to four and half million. But the results were nearly a mirror-image of the 2010 election, with Walker gaining less than a point. Turnout was not decisive. Persuasion, specifically keeping the independents who voted for Walker the first time, was what worked. I would say the same thing happened with Davis and Frazier in 1921. 

But California today is very different. Wisconsin is evenly divided. California is most certainly not. Turnout can be the difference maker here. Tomorrow, I hope to look at what we can glean from the information about the ballots already handed in.

Friday, August 27, 2021

California: Newsom Recall Round-up -- former State Senate Majority Leader endorses Elder; 2.7M ballots handed in, Polls!

Former State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero (D) has endorsed the recall and Larry Elder. Romero is a big supporter of charter schools, which seem to be her reason for the endorsement. (Note that unlike the Senate in the US, the Majority Leader isn't the highest ranking position -- that is the Senate President Pro Tempore. Majority Leader would be seen as second in command -- closer to how the House views the position).

A new Change Research poll has Newsom up 57-42 among likely voters.

About 2.7 million ballots have been returned, which may be a good sign for Newsom (?). After 2020, Republicans have been turned off from their previous love of absentee ballots, and the strong assumption is that mail in ballots will heavily favor Newsom. To put it in context, almost 12.5 million votes were cast in 2018. 

Silicon Valley split, as some of the biggest names (and money) in Tech have come out big for Newsom, but there are also a notable contingent of recall backers. 

Bad decision here, as a sample ballot mailed to voters is causing confusion as to whether it can be used for the vote.

Louisiana: Recall Election against Richwood Mayor scheduled for November 13

A recall election has been scheduled against Richwood Mayor Gerald Brown on November 13. Petitioners handed in 462 valid signatures. They needed 381. 

Brown blames supporters of the previous Mayor Ed Harris for the recall, as well as Aldermen Wysinger Cleveland, Wilbert Reed Jr. and Alderwoman Leola Keys. Harris was apparently banned from holding office due to malfeasance. He is now once again eligible. In the article, there doesn't seem to be a particular reason for the recall. 

Alaska: Petitioners throw in the towel on gubernatorial recall effort

Petitioners have thrown in the towel in their recall effort against Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R).

Petitioners claim they have 62, 373 signatures. They needed 71,252 valids needed to get on the ballot. The recall was an important one, as the Alaska Supreme Court came down with a landmark ruling possibly ending the malfeasance standard in Alaska and allowing for Political Recalls. This could expand the use of the recall in the state.  


If Dunleavy were recalled, there would not have been a replacement race. Instead, the Lieutenant Governor (a Republican) would automatically be moved up to Governor.

California: Interview with Sonoma County District Attorney on her recall

Here's an interview with Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, who is also facing a recall vote on September 14. There is no replacement candidate, so this no write-in candidate gets it, the Sonoma County Supervisors would appoint a replacement. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

California: Recall history shows why the Democrats were probably right to scorn the replacement race for Governor

Right now, there’s an enormous amount of complaints and second guessing about Gavin Newsom’s strategy of “leave the replacement question blank.” The optics of this effort has been bad, and Newsom has faced criticism for seeming to not care about the result. Democrats have also come under criticism for pushing out any possible Democratic replacement candidate, making the election a stark choice. But practically, I think the critics are greatly underestimating how difficult it would be for both Newsom to lose the recall and a Democrat to win the replacement race. Recall history tells the story that a good number of voters, especially Democrats, will skip the replacement race. At the same time, Republicans would likely coalesce around the strongest opposition candidate, resulting in a much better chance for the Republicans to win. 
 
In California, we have seven elections on the state level to examine: the 2003 Governor’s race and the six state legislative elections since 1994 (and, what the hell, we can throw in a seventh from 1914). We will also look at two other states that have the Yes/No question on Recalls, followed by a replacement vote.

In 2003, voters had real options to vote for a Democrat to replace Newsom. In this case, it was not a replacement-level Democrat, but a heavy hitter -- Lieutenant Governor (and former Assembly Speaker) Cruz Bustamante. Bustamante has been treated poorly by history due to the recall result, but you can see that the twice-elected state-wide candidate was serious. California has a split ticket Gov/Lt Gov arrangement, and Bustamante outperformed Gray Davis in his 2002 re-election race. There was every reason to believe that Bustamante could be the viable alternative. But what happened was very different. 

55.4% of voters voted to remove Davis, which means that Davis received 44.5% of the vote. Bustamante performance? 31.5%. It was not divided among Democrats either. What happened? More than 62.5% of voters cast their ballots for Republican candidates to replace him. What ended up happening is that 8% of the voters skipped the replacement race (and, perhaps shockingly, 4.6% skipped the Yes/No question). You can say Schwarzenegger was special, but our look in the past shows this recurring again and again. 

In 2018, State Senator Josh Newman (D) faced a recall vote. The vote was ostensibly over a gas tax, but it was also quite political, as the removal of Newman deprived the Democrats of a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Newman lost the recall badly, 58.1% against him. The replacement race saw a more than 6% fall off in turnout from the recall vote. Ling Ling Chang, who Newman beat in 2016 (and would lose to him in round three in 2020) won with 33.8% of the vote. However, there were three Republicans and three Democrats in the race. The combined vote total for Republicans was… 58.1% 

In 2008, Senator Jeff Denham (R) faced a recall vote, in an attempt to give the Democrats a veto-proof  two-thirds majority in the Senate. This is the only Democratic-led recall of the bunch. The Democrats ended up effectively abandoning this one, but it still went to a vote. Denham easily won with 75% in his favor. The only replacement candidate was a Democrat, so he got all the votes. But it was a big fall-off, with only 38% of voters casting ballots in the replacement race. Interestingly enough, 20,043 people voted to remove Denham, but 30,946 voted in his replacement race. So, over 10,000 voters chose to cast ballots in favor of keeping Denham and also selected a Democrat to replace him. 

Now we get into 1995, when the Republicans gained a bare majority in the Assembly but then lost it when Democratic Speaker Willie Brown convinced one member to switch. Three Assemblymembers ended up facing recalls that term, all targeted by Republicans – Paul Horcer and Doris Allen, both of whom were elected as Republicans, but ended up supporting Brown, as well as Michael Machado, a Democrat from a marginal seat. 

Paul Horcher lost overwhelmingly, 61.6% voted to remove him. In the replacement race, turnout dropped more than 16%. The Republican candidate won with 39.25%, but the combined Republicans received 76% of the vote, well outpacing the vote in favor of retaining Horcher. 

The Democrat Michael Machado easily retained his seat, with nearly 63% voting in his favor. In the replacement race only 66% of the voters cast ballots. Despite Machado’s big performance, the replacement race totals were very different. A Republican would have been elected to replace Machado. Combined the Republicans won 68% of those votes. 

Doris Allen, who flipped after Horcher was removed, was also kicked out. 65% of the vote was against her. 90.5% of voters who cast ballots in the recall voted on a replacement candidate. The Republicans won 68.44% of that vote, again outpacing the vote to retain Allen. 

Finally, in 1994, State Senate President Pro Tempore David Roberti faced a recall over gun control. Roberti easily won, with more than 59% casting a no vote. The drop in vote for the replacement candidate was huge, with almost 40% leaving it blank. The sole Democrat would have won the replacement race, but that may be because the Republicans did not believe there was much a chance and did not coalesce. In fact, the four Republicans combined to get 63.5% of the vote. 

In our seventh example, for which I don’t have the full numbers, State Senator E.E. Grant was removed in a recall vote in 1914. He was replaced by the Senator who he beat to win office, Eddie Wolfe, who was most assuredly on the other side. 

 I should point out that California had a law, overturned in 2003, that voters had to vote yes on a recall in order to vote for the replacement candidate. However, the pre-2003 recall numbers above (in which the replacement vote almost always topped the yes vote in the recall) suggests this law was not really followed. This provision has been around since the beginning, so I really can’t explain how it was used in these recalls, but it seems not to have had any effect.

 Two other states are useful to look at here. Colorado has the exact same one-day/two-step process as California. Michigan had a two-day/two-step process, where the replacement vote takes place on a different day. (Michigan has since changed its recall law). 

Colorado has only had two state-level recalls in its history, both on the same day. In 2013, Democratic Majority Leader John Morse and Senator Angela Giron lost their seats in recall votes. The Democrats did not run candidates in the replacement races, so the Republicans walked to victory. But there was still a vote on the replacement. The turnout dropped heavily, but it was all on the Democrats side. The vote to remove Moore was 9131-8812. The vote for his replacement was 8,932. The vote to remove Giron was 19451-15376. Her replacement got 19,391. Even with no real opposition, the Republican replacements kept almost the entire Yes vote. 

Michigan has had four recall votes. In 1983, two Democratic State Senators were ousted in recall votes. Both were replaced by Republicans on a later date. The sole state-level example of this strategy working was in 2011, when a Republican House member Paul Scott was ousted by 197 votes (12,358-12,126).  In February, 2012 he was replaced by another Republican (though Scott could have replaced himself. He declined to run) who won 10,290-8173. Turnout dropped more than 21%. Notably, this was months later so that really needs to mitigate the story. 

Perhaps most revealing is the 2008 recall attempt against House Speaker Andy Dillon. The recall took place on Election Day with Dillon running for re-election. So Dillon appeared on the ballot twice, once for his election and once for his recall. He won both easily, but the drop in voting on the recall is noteworthy. Dillon won the regular election 27,864-14,311. He won the recall 23,987-14,257. While almost four thousand voters dropped off for Dillon (86%), the recall forces kept 99% of the vote and lost a grand total of 54 votes. 

The idea that the party’s candidate will lose the recall, but someone else from the same party will swoop in and get all of their votes to beat back a divided opposition is not what seems to happen. In fact, the most likely result is that if you lose the recall, you’ll lose the replacement race. While the message was botched, Newsom and the Democrats were likely right to head-off a serious Democratic replacement candidate.

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- Latino vote down? Likability problem; and weird case of 300 unopened ballots found in car

Is Newsom not doing well with Latinos? This turned out to be a big question from 2003, but we'll go into that later. 

Or is Newsom's problem likability? 

A look at why the unconstitutionality argument will likely fail (I'll have an op-ed on this)

More worries about turnout and here

Torrance Police found 300 unopened recall ballots in a car with a passed-out suspect who had drugs and a gun. Let's see if anything comes of this one. 

More discussion on why the early vote was not that great an idea

Monday, August 23, 2021

California: VP Kamala Harris to drop in to campaign for Newsom

Vice President Kamala Harris is coming back to her home territory to campaign for Governor Gavin Newsom in the recall race. 

California: Larry Elder replaces campaign manager, faces investigation over income reporting

Leading GOP candidate, talk show host Larry Elder, is now running into some bumps in the road, as he has replaced his campaign manager with three weeks to go. Elder is also being investigated over income disclosure failures. Elder's filing was two pages long. Edler's campaign claims this is a minor error.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Montana: Paradise Sewer Board Directors up for recall on August 24

The recall effort against Paradise Sewer Board Directors Sunny Chase and Rick McCollum over claims that they have held private meetings and haven't kept proper records, has made the ballot and will be held on August 24. 

The issue seems to be around a large infrastructure project.

Montana is a Malfeasance Standard state, so petitioners had to meet the for cause statutory requirement to get on the ballot.

Alaska: New recall effort launched against Anchorage Assembly member

Petitioners are claiming that they have enough signatures to get a recall on the ballot against Anchorage Assembly member Meg Zaletel, who they previously tried to recall. Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera defeated a recall in April. The issue seems to be the same -- over a meeting which, due to the size of the audience, violated the emergency order limiting crowds during the coronavirus pandemic (there may have been 17 people at the meeting, which had a limit of 15). Petitioners seem to be opposed to masking requirements. 

Petitioners need about 2500 signatures. 

Maryland: Proposal to add recall law for state and all local officials

Delegate Reid Novotny (R) is planning on proposing a recall law in the next legislative session for both state and local officials. 

.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

California: Newsom Recall Round-up -- Echoes of 2002? The Calendar comes into focus; Elder's personal life comes under the spotlight and endorsements

Mark Barabak looks back on the Davis re-election run preceding the recall and the dangers of Newsom if he wins, but underperforms

David Carrillo and Brandon Stracener from the California Constitution Center provide a really good look by at the calendar for the post-recall and what it may mean if Newsom loses. Part of it is that there is a 38 day period between removal and the certification 

Larry Elder's former fiancée claims he brandished a gun while high, as well as made her get a "Larry's Girl" tattoo

LA Times endorse no on recall, and go with Kevin Faulconer on the replacement

LA Daily News says yes on the recall and on Larry Elder

My book -- Recall Elections: From Alexander Hamilton to Gavin Newsom -- Available now on Amazon

With less than a month to go before Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall vote, I want to share with you news of the publication of my new e-book -- Recall Elections: From Alexander Hamilton to Gavin Newsom, selling on Amazon’s platform for $5. 

This book distills 25 years of research, providing new data on their use, their success rate, their long history, why and when they were adopted and what this means for Newsom and his challengers on September 14. The book is available for download here and will soon be available in paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/s?i=digital-text&rh=p_27%3AJoshua+Spivak&s=relevancerank&text=Joshua+Spivak&ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1

  • Among the subjects covered:Detailed examinations of all 48 state-level recalls in US history
  • In-depth look at the Governors Gray Davis/Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scott Walker and Lynn Frazier recalls
  • Stats on the last 10 years of recall elections Comparisons of different recall laws in each state
  • The four different styles of recall elections 
  • The shocking finding of whether special elections make a recall more likely to succeed
  • The impact of the technological revolution on the recall What the recall tells us about the increase in bitter partisanship and a preference for a more democratic system.  
Additionally, the book looks at how the recall played a role in the Constitutional Ratification debates, with Alexander Hamilton's leading role in the fight against the recall for US Senators. The recall also was an important part of the William Howard Taft/Theodore Roosevelt split in 1912 that divided the Republican Party. 

We will also look at some noteworthy recalls such as:

  • Fighting the KKK and Segregation
  • Dianne Feinstein's recall as San Francisco Mayor 
  • Recalls against Mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Omaha and Miami-Dade 

The book also provides some conclusions on whether the recall is a positive in America and whether its use actually benefited the people launching a recall.

California: Lawsuit filed claiming that the one-day, two-step recall model is unconstitutional

The recent claim that California' (and many other states') recall law is unconstitutional has now advanced to the next logical stage - a lawsuit. Supporters are looking to adopt the "replace with the Lieutenant Governor" model (though in a state where you separately elect Lt. Gov's -- and has a long history of splitting the Gov/Lt. Gov position -- I could see this lead to its own problems). I haven't read the filing, though I'm wondering how they deal with the fact that the state has treated it as a bifurcated election -- the recall is a ballot measure. The replacement race is a separate election, albeit on the same day. 

Here's Professor Ned Foley's take on why he suspects this will fail. 

California: Newsom Recall Round-up -- replacement candidates focus fire on Elder; More on Paffrath and Recall Red wine reissue

The latest debate featured attacks on replacement race front-runner Larry Elder (who did not attend) and John Cox served with a subpoena

Elder has faced criticism from the right for statements saying that Biden won the 2020 election "fair and square" which has led Elder's team to "revoke" the Sacramento Bee's press credentials

A look at Kevin Paffrath, the leading Democratic candidate 

LA Times Columnist Nicholas Goldberg looks at why to not vote on the replacement race

"Recall Red" wine reissued for a new generation

Monday, August 16, 2021

California: New CBS poll shows 48-52% split in likely voters

 A new CBS poll is showing a 48% of likely voters in favor of the recall, with 52% opposed. Once again, Larry Elder leads the replacement ballot with 23% in his favor. Only two issues see Newsom below 56% approval -- crime and homelessness. 

Also, more on turnout here

California: Ability to print ballots from home facing complaints

Recall proponents have begun discussing and complaining about a part of the law that allows voters to print out the ballots. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- Unconstitutionality argument; Biden gets moving and Larry Elder gets the spotlight

Here's UC Berkeley Law School Dean co-writing a NYT op-ed on why the recall is unconstitutional -- maybe I'll get into this after I have a little more time. But you can look at my plurality conundrum piece for details -- let's say I heavily disagree

President Joe Biden getting engaged with the recall

Larry Elder, seemingly in the lead among Republicans, argues that Newsom's in trouble

And Newsom is definitely hoping that Elder has consolidated support, as it gives him someone to hit -- as they are now finally digging through his 30 years of tapes

Elder claims Firefox star Clint Eastwood sent a message of support -- (may want to check with Mitt Romney on the value of that endorsement)

Ballot Harvesting comes back into play

How will the vaccination policy affect Newsom's race

A potential parole case now may haunt Newsom

Turnout, Turnout, Turnout

Thursday, August 12, 2021

California: First recall effort against San Francisco District Attorney fails

The first recall effort against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has failed, with petitioners claiming that they are 1714 signatures short (though that is before verification, so it could be a lot less).

This recall was led by former Republican Mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg (though Greenberg said he was replaced as head of the effort). It was considered the "Republican" recall. The recall is over complaints over lenient treatment of criminals. Recall efforts kicked into high gear after a convict who was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and violating probation was released without bail and then ran over two women while running a red light. 

A second recall (San Franciscans for Public Safety) is led by local Democrats Mary Jung (the former chair of the local Democratic Party) and Andrea Shorter. 

Petitioners have until August 11 to get 51,325.  

Colorado: Avon Mayoral/Council recall set for Election Day

The recall of Avon Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes and Councilmember Tamra Underwood has been set for Election Day, November 2. Avon has decided not to appeal a judge's ruling that the recall against  has met the signature requirements and will take place by Election Day. The court found that the undercount is now counted for purposes of the recall. Neither Hymes nor Underwood participated in the vote. 

Here's some earlier detailed coverage of the fight. I'm not sure what happened to the recall of Councilmembers Amy Phillips.

Oregon: Portland Mayor recall effort off to slow start

The recall campaign against Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) is off to a slow start, as they have reported gathering only 5,926 signatures. They need 47,788 by October 6. One of the leaders of the recall was the lawyer for Sarah Iannarone, the second place finisher in the election. 

New Mexico: Plea agreement offered for Otero County Commissioner

A confidential plea agreement has been offered by federal prosecutors to Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin for his role in rioting at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal charges. Griffin denies that he violated the law.  Signatures gathering had already started in the recall effort, as the Judge greenlit the recall effort (New Mexico is a Malfeasance Standard state).

In addition, Griffin has been accused of calling for the murder of the Governors of Virginia and Michigan, and called for violence at President Joe Biden's inauguration. 

Petitioners would need 1574 signatures in 90 days. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Colorado: Three Silverton Officials facing October 12 recall vote

Silverton Mayor Shane Fuhrman, Mayor Pro Tem Sallie Barney and Trustee Jordan Bierma are facing a recall vote on October 12.  The issue was over a kitchen sink of complaints including failing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, opposing allowing off-highway vehicles in town and failing to keep campaign promises. 

One of the lead petitioners is the owner of a marijuana dispensary.

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- GOP votes not to endorse any candidate; Write-in for Dems? And discussion of latest polls

The GOP votes not to endorse any candidate

Emerson's Director of Polling Service discusses their latest poll

Op-ed on switching the replacement method -- I'll probably have a good deal more to say on this idea later. 

More on the challenges facing Newsom in turnout

Article calling for a write-in candidate for Democrats

I'm on KGO-TV discussing the recall

Michigan: Mount Pleasant Board members facing petitions over mask mandate

Mount Pleasant Board President Amy Bond and Board members Courtney Stegman and Wiline Pangle are facing petitions after voting for a mask mandate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Petitioners need more than 3,000 signatures. Isabella County, where the school is located, has the lowest vaccination rate in Mid-Michigan.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Washington: Seattle City Council member recall will not make Election Day ballot

The recall effort against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant (the first socialist elected to Seattle's council in 100 years) has missed the deadline to get on the ballot for the November election and may be delayed until 2022.

Petitioners would need 10,739 signatures by October 19 to get on the ballot. August 1st seems to be needed to get the Election Day recall. 

There's been quite a number of twists and turns to this one. 

California: Six Huntington Beach Council members facing recall effort

 Huntington Beach Council members Kim Carr, Rhoda Bolton, Barbara Delgeize, Dan Kalmick, Natlaie Moser and Mike Posey are facing recall efforts (though Bolton hasn't hit the 90 day timeframe before a recall can start). Councilman Erik Peterson, a conservative, is the only member not facing recall threats.

The issue is claims that they surrendered "local zoning control to the state."

California: Ontario City Council member recall costs $4117

The recent recall of Ontario City Council member Freddy Rodriguez ended up costing $4,117, which is less than half of the estimated $10,000.

Kansas: Nemaha School Board member facing November 2 recall vote

Nemaha School Board member Amy Sudbeck is facing a recall vote on Election Day over her support for continued masking policy to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners handed in 8 valid signatures -- they only needed 5. 

Kansas is a Malfeasance Standard state, so petitioners are claiming that Sudbeck prevented them from making healthcare decisions for their children. It is not clear if Sudbeck tried to have the petitions thrown out. 

New Jersey: Ridgefield Park School Board Trustees targeted in recall

Unfortunately, I can't see any details behind the paywall, but hopefully something will turn up soon enough. The recall seems to grow out of a lawsuit. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- Money! Turnout and Endorsement issues

Newsom's raised more than $51 million for the fight, the pro-recall forces have only taken in $6 million.

Larry Elder has raised $4.5 million during his brief candidacy, beating out the Republican field.

More on the turnout issue 

Republicans pushing against a party endorsement of a replacement candidate

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- Big Outlier Poll shows Newsom blown out; Judge allows reference to Trump and Republicans

Survey USA has the big outlier poll of the day (outlier doesn't mean wrong), showing Newsom losing 40-51%, with Kevin Paffrath (of Meet Kevin fame) leads the replacement race with 27% -- note he was the only Democrat polled

Core Decision Analytics has its poll showing in Newsom in the lead, though a 50-43% among definite voters.

Newsom is now allowed to reference Trump and the Republicans in his statement -- though a final decision will come tomorrow

Could the Employment Development Department failures hurt Newsom?

Replacement candidates having an issue collecting money and getting noticed

Some harsh words (well, from me) on the decision to not take their time on the recall vote and thoughts on Democrats issue with turnout

The first Recall debate is over

Washington: Benton County Sheriff Kicked out in recall vote

Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher seems to have been kicked out of office -- over 75% of voters have cast ballots for removal, with over 28,000 votes counted already (21,436-7,140). 

The Deputy Sheriff's Guild membership was leading the way. An independent investigator found that Hatcher retaliated against a whistleblower and two witnesses and engaged in anti-union activity.

Hatcher also has run into personal issues with his wife filing a civil protection order claiming that he choked her during a fight over his extramarital affairs. The order meant he had to surrender his firearm. He also was previously charged with felony witness tampering and assault, though chargers were dismissed.

Hatcher is now claiming he lives in a cabin in Montana and is suing his wife to cover the expenses of the recall defense.  

The recall was approved by the Washington State Supreme Court. Previously a judge had green lit a recall effort, ruling that petitioners have met Washington's malfeasance standard on eight charges.

The recall is estimated to cost between $200,000-$250,000.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- Polls (not good ones for Newsom); Money! Lawsuits! and Jane Fonda!

Inside California/Emerson Poll has the pro-recall side at 46%, with Newsom at 48% among registered voters -- the poll last had the recall at 43%. Larry Elder is in the lead in the replacement race.  

54% of Hispanics would vote for removal -- exit polls in 2003 found that 45% of Hispanics voted for the recall of Davis. 

A lawsuit is trying to prevent Newsom from referencing Republicans and Trump in his recall statement

Lots and lots on the donations here on Rob Pyers' Twitter feed -- Corrections Officers Union gave $1.75M, Teachers' Union gave $1.8M

Jane Fonda considered a recall run

NBC has three key factors that we've been harping on here for months

Virginia: Three Prosecutors -- Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax -- facing recall efforts

A new group is targeting for recall three Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys (effectively District Attorneys), Loudoun County's Buta Biberaj, Arlington County's Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Fairfax County's Steve Descano. 

The "Republican-linked" group, Virginians for Safe Communities, claims they've raised $250,000 and have another $500,000 pledged  All three of the prosecutors were elected in 2019 with the support of George Soros' Justice and Public Safety PAC. This feel a part of the other prosecutorial recall attempts taking place in the country (though, oddly enough, not the only D.A. recall to get on the ballot).

I haven't looked into this, but this could be either a Recall Trial (unlike to succeed), a recall vote (some place in Virginia have this on the local level -- I don't think it is allowed for county positions, but I haven't the time to check it out now) or completely rejected by the courts. I really don't know yet. 

Petitioners would need 29,000 for Descano and 5,500 for Dehghani-Tafti. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Texas: Killeen City Council threatened with recalls over vote to hire law firm for redistricting plans

Former Killeen City Councilman Jonathan Okray has threatened to launch recalls against the entire City Council if they didn't enter into an agreement with a law firm for redistricting services (which they approved, 6-1). Okray was behind the 2011 recall of five council members for the buyout of the City Manager's contract -- Okray ran and won his seat. It sounds like Okray does not live in the city anymore.

Councilwoman Mellisa Brown voted against the contract, so Okray may be attempting to target her. 

California: Placerville Mayor and Council facing recall effort

The recall effort against Placerville Mayor Dennis Thomas has now been expanded to include recalls against Vice Mayor Kara Taylor and Council members Patricia Borelli and Michael Saragosa. While the recall seems to be a kitchen sink of complaints about growth and the now-common homelessness problem, the big issue seems to be a debate over removing a noose on the city's logo (the town was known as Hangtown during the Gold Rush). The council voted to remove it and there seems to be repeated mention of "heritage" in the discussion. 

Petitioners need 1672 signatures by October 11.

California: San Francisco Mayoral Recalls raising money; first recall effort signatures due on August 11

The two separate recall efforts against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin (D) have raised $650,000 and $273,000 respectively, with groups supporting Boudin raising $485,000. Here's a little write-up on why there are two separate efforts

Petitioners need 51,325 signatures and it may be close. The first petition (by the group that has the $273,000), due on August 11, claims to have 46,000 signatures, which sounds a little low at this point. The second petition has until October 25, and they claim to have 38,000 signatures.