Court ruling is final: Newsom may blame recall on ‘Republicans and Trump supporters’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaking from behind a podium
California Gov. Gavin Newsom faces Sept. 14 recall election.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A Sacramento judge refused Thursday to block Gov. Gavin Newsom from telling voters that the Sept. 14 recall election was organized by “Republicans and Trump supporters.”

In a final ruling, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Laurie M. Earl said Newsom’s proposed statement for the voter information handbook did not violate election law. She came to the same conclusion in an earlier, tentative decision before a hearing.

“The Court finds there is nothing false or misleading about describing the recall effort’s leaders as Trump supporters,” Earl wrote.


Recall leaders charged in a lawsuit that Newsom was lying in his ballot statement because not all recall supporters and candidates vying to replace Newsom were Republicans.

During a hearing Thursday, the recall backers also claimed Newsom lied when he said they were “abusing our recall laws.”

Earl disagreed, saying there was “an argument that this recall is an abuse of a perfectly legal process.”

“The recall is being held less than three years after a sizable majority of California voters elected Newsom Governor,” she noted.

Reasonable minds may disagree on the propriety of the recall, she said, but Newsom’s statement fell within the realm of legitimate political debate.

Opponents of Newsom gathered enough signatures to force the recall vote. A poll last month found that voters were almost evenly divided over whether to remove Newsom. Turnout is expected to be key.