An effort to recall California’s governor has gathered enough valid signatures to go to a vote, state election officials have said.
The Republican-led campaign to oust the Democratic Gavin Newsom could result in a recall next autumn in a race that would see three Republicans running to replace him.
Mr Newsom said the recall bid was a power grab by Republicans who have little chance of making inroads in California, where the party only represents about a quarter of voters.
Mr Newsom’s Stop the Republican Recall campaign said in a text message to registered Democrats: “This recall attempt is a far-right partisan power grab and a waste of money.
“I am not going to take this fight lying down. There is too much at stake, and I intend to win.”
Shortly after the signature count was confirmed, Republican former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer said: “Californians from all walks of life are seizing this historic opportunity to demand change.
“As the only candidate who has won tough elections and enacted real reform, I am ready to lead this movement.”
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Mr Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, was elected in 2018 with almost 62% of the vote and would be up for re-election next year.
The campaign against him began in February last year led by California Patriot Coalition.
But it strengthened during the coronavirus pandemic, with frustration over closed schools, changing public health rules, and the state’s vaccination programme.
The recall process would see voters decide whether they want to remove the governor and then choosing a replacement on the same ballot.
Officials have until Thursday to provide a final count of valid signatures and voters then get 30 days to remove their signatures if they change their minds.
By Monday there were 1.6 million valid signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office.