The movement to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has just received its first six-figure donation, Politico reported Tuesday.
The consulting firm Prov 3:9, LLC—based in Irvine—donated $500,000 to one of the committees aiming to give California voters a recall election on their governor.
Additionally, the campaign also obtained about $100,000 from Sequoia Capital partner Douglas Leone and his wife Patricia Perkins-Leone, according to the Politico report. During the 2020 election cycle, the couple gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump and allied Republican organizations.
As for why all this matters, Politico‘s Jeremy B. White writes that “[s]tatewide campaigns require lots of money, usually in the millions of dollars, and political observers have been closely watching to see if major donors step up for the recall effort.”
“Now the first major sum has landed, bolstering the recall’s chances,” he added, though he called the effort a “longshot.”
In recent months, the recall effort itself has picked up traction, amid Newsom receiving criticism for his handling of the pandemic in the nation’s highest-population state. Notable supporters of the recall effort include the California Republican Party and former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, while conservative media figures such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have given the effort their blessing.
In particular, Newsom faced fierce criticism for going against his own COVID-19 guidelines back in the autumn in order to attend a dinner party at a swanky Napa County restaurant called French Laundry, violating the limits at the time on the size of gatherings. This incident, White writes, “crystallized frustration” in the Golden State “with stringent restrictions”.
Like Newsom, other high-profile Democrats across the country have been accused of violating COVID-19 guidelines such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock among others.
Last month, a judge gave proponents of the recall effort three additional months to gather the approximately 1.5 million signatures they would need to certify a recall. According to the proponents, they have collected about 800,000 signatures so far. However, “getting enough valid signatures,” White notes, “would likely mean collecting close to 2 million given that a share of them are typically deemed invalid.”
Back in 2003, there was a successful recall of former California Gov. Gray Davis (D). Why the 2003 recall succeeded, according to White, is in part due to former Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) donating money to the effort. On the other hand, the Newsom recall effort has only seen a series of smaller five-figure donations.
While $500,000 is certainly something to write home about, it’s “still not enough to collect all of the remaining signatures needed,” White concludes. Nonetheless, this surge in donations could indicate to potential donors that the recall effort is serious, thus opening the door for more money.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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