What Heatlie and Netter initially had was $ 500 each in seed money, a network of connections from their participation in the previous recall campaign, Heatlie’s familiarity through his law enforcement training with the National Incident Management System – a management tool that he said he applied to the recall – and a strong presence on social media.
“I belong to 475 Facebook groups,” said Netter. “Do you have any idea how painful that is?”
Over the past year, they began circulating petitions as they expanded their network and gathered more than 150 volunteer organizers across the state. These organizers collected signatures. You’ve been tirelessly posting on social media. They called conservative talk radio stations and emailed them. Netter and Heatlie took every media booking they could get. And when it still looked like their campaign was going nowhere, they benefited from three strokes of luck.
First, Heatlie and his group, officially known as the California Patriot Coalition – Recall Governor Gavin Newsom, are far from getting the required number of signatures last fall, and with a November 17th deadline. successfully applied for a Sacramento County Supreme Court judge extending his 160-day signature collection window for an additional 120 days, citing difficulty collecting signatures during the pandemic. By mid-October, the proponents had collected around 675,000 signatures. The expansion, combined with the large number of signatures that proponents had already collected, made what appeared to be a Quixotic campaign a possible one. Big donors got involved.
In retrospect, Garry South, a Democratic strategist who previously advised Newsom and was a senior advisor to Davis, said, “The only reason this thing will qualify – the only reason – is because that idiotic judge in Sacramento ruled that these people had another 120 days beyond the original 160 days. “
He said: “Why Democrats have not appealed this decision is a mystery to me.”
Second, Newsom committed self-sabotage with its mishap at The French Laundry, the world-famous restaurant near Napa, whose dinner reservations start at $ 350 per person. Newsom later said, “I made a serious mistake.” But that was a gross understatement. The incident was detrimental to Newsom not only because of the hypocrisy of eating in a group while telling Californians to remain isolated in their homes, but also because it endorsed the elitist label for Newsom’s critics, which it always tries had to nail him down. And it served as a reminder of his management of a pandemic that burned almost uncontrollably across the state at the time.
Earlier this year, Newsom’s approval rating had dropped to 46 percent in one measureafter 64 percent in September. Saturday Night Live mocked him. French laundry, Economy said, “has forever changed its political life.”
Eventually, and perhaps most importantly, Trump lost the White House while mistakenly convincing the majority of Republicans that the elections were not free or fair. The combination of disappointment and outrage made Trump’s supporters search the map for other support reasons no more prominent than Newsom’s recall in a year outside of the election.
The organizers of the recall, Aware of Trump’s toxicity in California, they have sought to portray their movement as a bipartisan effort. It is estimated that more than 30 percent of the signatures they collect come from people who are not Republicans. Denying the notion that Trump’s loss and the anger it sparked among Republicans helped the recall campaign cause, Netter said website traffic declined in part after the November election because of the controversy surrounding people the election results were distracted.
But the atmosphere surrounding the recall campaign is at times indistinguishable from the Trump rallies of 2020 and efforts to overcome his defeat. At a rally in a park in Ventura on the California coast on a Saturday afternoon, Netter took the stage to usher in a “moment of joy” in California – a campaign he described as “educating the people of California”. He introduced Heatlie who was in the crowd and acknowledged the humble beginnings of the group and said, “Small things make great things!” Recall organizers collected signatures.
But the air that hung over the rally was thick with passions broader than this one cause. Vendors sold Trump T-shirts and jeweled Trump hats from stalls across the stage while a flag comparing Trump to Jesus waved in the wind. The Right Side Broadcasting Network broadcast the program live. Judy Mikovits, the discredited scientist increased by anti-vaccine activists and coronavirus conspiracy theorists, addressed the crowd, followed by Cordie Williams, a young chiropractor in sunglasses and a t-shirt with the name of the group he founded. 1776 Free forever, printed on the chest. He called the governor “Adolf Newsom” and asked “how many disgruntled patriots” were on hand.
Williams, who frequently moderates the callback advocates’ virtual town hall meetings, suggested that the callback was just part of a larger fight against “anti-Americans.” “California is the head of the snake,” he said. “The rest of the tail is Sleepy Joe, and we have to take our land back.”
He added, “I’ll be damned if I sit back and see the whole country go to hell.”
The rally and others who like it seemed to be supportive Los Angeles Times reported in January that found “Remember campaign leaders trying to take advantage of the darkening public mood and team up with radical and extreme elements early on to help collect signatures.” And the Democrats used these connections in the fight against the campaign. Shortly after the US Capitol uprising in January, Rusty Hicks, chairman of the California Democratic Party, described the recall as a “coup in California,” for which he was widely criticized. Dan Newman, a senior Newsom advisor, said: “The genesis of the Republican Recall is inextricably linked to the hateful Trumpian rhetoric that runs counter to fundamental California values.”
Heatlie and Netter voted for Trump, they said; Economy volunteered for its campaign in 2016. And Heatlie was specifically criticized – also from Newsom itself – for a 2019 Facebook post suggesting the United States “microchip all illegal immigrants,” adding, “It works! Just ask Animal Control! “(Heatlie said at the time that it was“ bait for a bigger conversation ”and that he was“ not really an advocate of microchips. ”In an interview last week he said it was“ an inflammatory statement, and I’m sorry to say it now . ”)
But it is also true that in promoting recall at events organized by other groups, Heatlie and Netter “do not select the speakers,” as Heatlie said. He knows that people consistent with the campaign “have their own plans,” but said that apart from banning posts on the campaign’s Facebook pages unrelated to the recall, he said, ” don’t spend much time checking them … unless they do, don’t douse our movement. “