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When was the last Governor recalled in California? How many times has it happened?

Governor Gray Davis is the only governor that has successfully been recalled in the state of California. In 2003 Davis was replaced by Schwarzenegger.

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a campaign rally against his recall election with US Vice President Kamala Harris at the IBEW-NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in San Leandro, California, September 8, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, is in the midst of a recall election, posing the question as to how many times a governor has been recalled in California, if ever.

The recall election began with a petition, which was signed by 1.5 million people. The petition did not mention the coronavirus pandemic, and was actually extended due to the pandemic. However, Democrat Gavin Newsom’s handling of the pandemic did result in an increase in signatures. Originally, the petition referenced high taxes for conservatives, homelessness, and other matters.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are campaigning for Newsom in California.

Has a California governor ever been recalled?

2003 was the first year that a governor in California was recalled. Gray Davis was elected in 1998 as the governor of California and was reelected in 2002. A year later, Davis was recalled and replaced by republican candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Why did the 2003 recall happen?

55% of California voters were in favor of recalling Gray Davis. The outrage came from people who did not agree with how Davis handled the electricity crisis. In the early 2000’s, California had a limited electricity supply due to the deregulated electricity industry. Debts began to increase, and the state utilities were no longer being sold the electricity, which led to blackouts.

While Davis said the blame was on the utilities companies, people in California began to get frustrated with the governor, eventually leading to his recall. Davis did not sign the bill that led to the crisis, but people grew angry with the governor’s slow and ineffective response. Davis’ approval rating significantly decreased as a result of the situation.

In 2021, California was one of 21 states that permitted recall elections. However, the 2003 recall was the first and only time a governor has ever been recalled in California.

Since 1911, recalls have been allowed in California’s political system. Though only one recall has successfully taken place, 179 recalls have been proposed since 1913.


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