A group of 75 Silicon Valley leaders including Laurene Powell Jobs and Eric Schmidt have signed a letter opposing the recall of Gavin Newsom, as 2.2 million signatures have now been gathered to force a vote on ousting the governor from office.
Some of the biggest names in tech publicly threw their support behind the California governor this week, penning a letter in which they urged residents to reject the ‘politically motivated’ recall.
The tech leaders argued removing the Democrat from office before his term ends would ‘roll back growing progress’ the state is making around the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and reopening the economy after being hammered by the pandemic.
The show of support comes as a recall vote becomes increasingly likely, with organizers nearing the threshold of signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot.
Once reached, Californians will cast a vote on whether to remove Newsom from office and pick his replacement.
Newsom has vowed to fight the ‘partisan, Republican’ recall, which he said is backed by ‘anti-mask and anti-vax extremists’, and has started fundraising to defend his seat.
A group of 75 Silicon Valley leaders have signed a letter opposing the recall of Gavin Newsom (pictured)
Among the 75 Silicon Valley bigwigs backing Newsom are Emerson Collective founder and Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs; ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt; founder of SV Angels and angel investor Ron Conway; LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman; ex-Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer; and Napster co-founder Sean Parker.
Ron Conway, founder of SV Angels, spearheaded the effort from the tech leaders, according to Politico, which first reported on the move.
Conway told the outlet ‘the distracting recall election is the last thing our state needs right now’ just as Californians are ‘finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.’
‘Governor Newsom has made tough decisions to lead us through the pandemic, and we’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,’ Conway said.
Conway said the recall effort is politically motivated by conservatives to replace the Democrat with ‘a Trump Republican’.
‘The vast majority of people in the tech community agree: replacing Governor Newsom with a Trump Republican, which is what this recall effort is really all about, would reverse our progress against COVID and would be bad for California,’ he said.
The letter does not mention the matter of funding to support Newsom’s fight for his seat but insiders told Politico it is likely to be the next step for the billionaire set.
Absent from the letter’s signees was CEO of Social Capital and ex-Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya, who has a conflicting take on the recall effort from his fellow tech leaders.
Among the 75 Silicon Valley bigwigs backing Newsom are Emerson Collective founder and Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs (left) and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt (right)
Founder of SV Angels and angel investor Ron Conway (pictured) is spearheading the tech leaders’ efforts to support the governor
Palihapitiya has been very vocal about wanting Newsom removed from office and donated $100,000 to fund the recall efforts.
In January, he sparked rumors he wanted to run to replace Newsom as governor, tweeting a link to a website called Chamath for California Governor and announcing: ‘It’s on. #RecallGavinNewsom.’
But he later walked back the idea saying in a podcast interview that he is ‘not ready to do any of that.’
Newsom has dismissed the recall efforts as a political power grab by Republicans and vowed not to go down without a fight.
In the clearest sign yet that the governor has acknowledged it will likely make the ballot, Newsom last week shared a link to a website to raise funds to defend his seat and hit out at the ‘partisan’ motives.
‘I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall – but I will fight it. There is too much at stake. Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk,’ Newsom said in a statement on Twitter.
Absent from the letter’s signees was CEO of Social Capital and ex-Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya (pictured), who has called for Newsom’s removal from office
Newsom’s campaign also sent out an email to supporters saying he would not take the recall efforts ‘lying down’ as he slammed the ‘anti-mask and anti-vax extremists’ and ‘pro-Trump forces’ behind the campaign.
‘If they are successful, it would mean risking the progress we are making to end the pandemic,’ Newsom added. ‘We can’t let that happen.’
He closed the email saying he would be fighting the recall effort ‘because ending this pandemic as quickly as possible is too important to get delayed by Trump loyalists and far right-wing Republicans.’
Democrats have increasingly tied the recall campaign to far-right conservatives and believers of the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory as they warn that removing a sitting governor in the midst of the pandemic would be devastating to the state.
Stop the Republican Recall, the campaign to defend his seat, has been backed by top Democrats including Elizabeth Warren and Stacey Abrams and has received funding from the California Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, organizers of the effort have claimed to be nonpartisan but it has been heavily backed and funded by Republicans.
In the clearest sign yet that the governor has acknowledged it will likely make the ballot, Newsom last week shared a link to a website to raise funds to defend his seat and hit out at the ‘partisan’ motives
The Stop the Republican Recall fundraising site blames ‘a partisan Republican coalition of anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters’ for the recall efforts
The California Republican Party has donated at least $100,000, while the Republican National Committee and the Republican Governor’s Association have also contributed to the $1 million in donations amassed for the campaign.
The campaign has cited a number of issues with Newsom’s leadership including his handling of the pandemic and his infamous French Laundry restaurant visit.
Newsom faced a backlash for dining at the restaurant in a group of 12 on November 6 in a partially enclosed room at a time when he had hit out at Californians for ‘letting their guard down’ and issued strict Thanksgiving rules.
Newsom apologized when the photos surfaced the following week saying he had made a ‘bad mistake’ but insisted the dinner was outdoors and that he didn’t realize the group attending was the size it was until he arrived.
Organizers have also cited the rolling power outages in the state to prevent catastrophic wildfires and his order to ban gasoline-powered cars by 2035.
Recall supporters are required to submit nearly 1.5 million signatures to place the proposal before voters.
Newsom’s campaign also sent out an email (pictured) to supporters saying he would not take the recall efforts ‘lying down’
Newsom criticized the ‘partisan, Republican’ recall, which he said was backed by ‘anti-mask and anti-vax extremists’ as well as ‘pro-Trump forces’ who want to overturn the 2020 presidential election
Organizers said they had amassed over 2.2 million signatures by their final collection deadline on March 17.
They now have until April 29 to verify the signatures.
The last update on the verification up to March 11, around 1.19 million signatures were verified out of a possible 1.45 million examined.
Based on this 81.7 percent success rate, it is likely that around 1.79 million of the 2.2 million votes will be verified – sailing past the 1.5 million threshold.
The recall process is quite lengthy with the state then given 10 days to verify that the signatures make the required threshold, followed by 30 days for any signatories to withdraw their names from the petition.
Given the various legal hoops that must be cleared, it could take until September of October before the vote is put on the statewide ballot – provided the threshold is reached.
Then California voters will vote whether or not to recall Newsom and who they want to replace him with.
This marks the sixth official attempt to recall Newsom since he took office just two years ago in 2019.