SACRAMENTO: A group of prominent political organizations and strategists has started a campaign to combat a months-old effort to recall Governor Gray Davis (D-CA), heating up partisan politics at a time when the state is facing intense pressure over budget cuts.
Earlier this year, Republican forces launched a campaign to collect voter signatures to call for a special election that would put the governor's office up for grabs before his normal term expires. The recall is a time-honored tactic in California politics, and would require the signatures of almost 900,000 verified voters to make it on the September ballot.
The effort was largely dismissed by pro-Davis forces until multimillionaire and US Congressman Darrell Issa (R) backed the measure with $445,000 of his own money,
and put himself in the running as a gubernatorial candidate should the recall of Governor Davis succeed. Other recall supporters include anti-tax activist Ted Costa and GOP strategist Sal Russo.
To combat what has become a well-funded if not broadly supported threat, a coalition including the California Professional Firefighters, the California Federation of Teachers, the Planning and Conservation League, and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor announced the formation of Taxpayers Against the Recall at a press conference in Sacramento last week. The group, headed by Davis campaign advisor Steve Smith, plans on collecting signatures on a petition against recalling the governor. While such a petition has no legal value, the goal is to highlight the cost of a new special election, as California is facing a severe budget crisis.
"The idea is to get the word out about the potential cost of a recall campaign," said Carroll Wills, head of communications for the California Professional Firefighters, and spokesman
for the anti-recall effort. "What we would argue is that this is a waste of taxpayers' dollars on what really amounts to a do-over of the last election."