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Former California Gov. Gray Davis likens latest recall election to 'shotgun wedding'

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 19:15:23-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Former California Gov. Gray Davis, who was voted out of office in the state's 2003 recall election, described to ABC 10News on Tuesday that the balance of governing and fighting a recall is not an easy one.

"It's not a lot of fun," Davis said. "You're battling wars on two fronts. It's not easy. But he's doing, what I think, is the right thing for him to do, which is to do the very best to tap down this delta variant."

While Davis recommends voting "no" on the recall and said that he has been doing what he can to support the Democratic party this election, he said the process is "just part of the job."

"It's just part of the job ... Governors do better when individual people and their families are feeling better about their future," Davis said. "So come Sept. 14, if people feel we've made enough progress, schools opening, businesses opening, things are getting back to semi-normal, then Gavin Newsom will be fine, and I believe he will, and I believe he will win. If they conclude to the contrary, they'll vote the other way ... it's what the public feels has happened in their lives and whether the trajectory they're on is a positive one or a negative one."


The effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom began during the pandemic as residents faced several pandemic-related restrictions surrounding businesses and gatherings, and the state worked to get a hold over growing COVID-19 cases. As the pandemic continued, more public health orders were issued and the angry sentiment against Newsom grew until the effort had received enough signatures to force an election.

Davis said he believes that the timing of this election is a mistake, as the next election for California governor waits around the corner in November 2022.

"Anyone can put a recall on the ballot, it's up to the public to decide whether it's worth reversing leaders kind of in the home stretch of term one, or waiting until the second election when all the candidates can be better vetted and better known then they are with this election, I call it a 'shotgun wedding,'" Davis said. "The bride and groom barely know one another, the guests don't know who the other guests are. A lot of confusion, a lot of turmoil. I would recommend a 'no' vote out of caution, and deference to the good job Gavin Newsom has done."

He added that the turnout of Democratic and Republican voters will greatly impact the results.

"All the polls in my judgment are a little suspect because we really just don't know how many people are going to turn out. The onus is on the Democrats, and I've been trying to help in my small way, of saying, 'hey look, this is not convenient. We know we've asked a lot of you during the pandemic, you're dealing with going back to school issues.' But still, when you vote for someone, you've got to let them finish the job," Davis said.