Pelosi Criticizes Republican Push to Recall Davis
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the effort underway to recall her fellow Californian, Gov. Gray Davis (D), is being pushed by partisan Republicans. But she was unclear about what Democrats should do if Davis’ opponents succeed in getting the recall measure on the statewide ballot.
“Right now, I think Democrats should fight the recall, because it is about injecting instability into a state,” Pelosi said. “If a Republican governor were there, I would give you the exact same answer. I think the Democrats must stick together,” she added.
She said the campaign to remove Davis from office is being waged for “political purposes” and implored Californians to not serve the purposes of the “right wing” of the California GOP.
“… To recall a governor for political purpose is a disservice to the people of our state, and I will fight it very hard,” she said.
Since Davis was re-elected to a second term last November, opponents have been scheming to put the recall on the statewide ballot, either in November 2003 or March 2004. A coalition of anti-tax and Republican activists have been collecting petition signatures to put the question on the ballot, and they got a boost recently when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) declared his interest in becoming governor and put about $800,000 into the effort.
But it remains to been whether recall supporters can gather the 900,000 signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot. And Pelosi warned that they really would need to accumulate closer to 1.5 million signatures after accounting for duplications and invalid signatures.
As to what Democrats should do if the recall makes the ballot, Pelosi said only: “We would cross that bridge when we come to it.”
But she reiterated her support for Davis.
“Let me be very clear in my support for Governor Davis and in opposition to this recall and with a complete encouragement of people keeping their names off the ballot.”
If there is a recall election, voters will simultaneously decide whether to keep Davis on the job and who should replace him if he is removed. Some Democrats believe the party will have to come up with a strategy — and possibly a candidate they can unify behind — if there is a vote.
Earlier this week, two top statewide Democratic officeholders, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and State Treasurer Phil Angelides, said they would not run for governor if the petition effort forces a new election. Both are potential 2006 gubernatorial primary opponents.
Two other potential Democratic candidates, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, have not ruled out running in a recall election.
While Issa has begun campaigning to replace Davis, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly considering a run as well.