In the beginning, the effort to force California Governor Gavin Newsom into a recall vote looked like some sort of quixotic plan in his deep blue state. But as the pandemic grinds on and Newsom’s shortcomings have been exposed, it’s begun seeming more realistic. Now there are still five weeks to go before the deadline and the organizers of one of the two campaigns driving the effort are telling Fox News that the finish line is in sight. They’ve gathered more than 1.4 million signatures of the nearly 1.5 million required. Can they reach their goal in time?

With just over a month to go, the campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom has nearly reached the required number of signatures needed to qualify for a statewide ballot.

As of Sunday, Recall Gavin 2020 – one of two committees organizing the effort – says petitioners have gathered more than 1.4 million signatures out of the necessary 1,495,709.

The campaign will need to gather signatures well above the number to compensate for the signatures that will inevitably be invalidated. Their deadline is March 17.

As noted, a certain number of the signatures will eventually be invalidated when challenged, so the two groups will need considerably more than the minimum. Spokespeople for the groups agree that they’re shooting for two million, but 1.8 million should still get them over the finish line.

So what happens then? The Lt. Governor will be required to schedule a special election. They expect that date to fall somewhere in August or September. There will be two questions on the ballot. The first will ask whether or not the voter is in favor of removing Newsom from office. The second will offer choices as to who should replace him if the first measure passes. Thus far the only candidate to formally enter the race is Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican.

The first question to address is whether or not the will exists to remove Newsom from office in the first place. While I still believe it’s less than likely, it’s really not a total impossibility anymore. Keep in mind that Newsom’s favorability ratings have dropped nearly twenty points in less than two months. It may have started with the French Laundry debacle, but the endless lockdowns and rising COVID numbers have really taken the shine off of the Governor’s star.

The other factor dogging the recall effort is the fact that, at least thus far, nobody with any real star power has stepped up to offer themselves as an alternative. When Gray Davis was recalled, voters were offered Arnold Schwarzenegger as a replacement. He probably seemed less like a Republican and more like a movie star to the rank and file voters. I’m sure Kevin Faulconer is a nice guy, but he’s not exactly a household name outside of San Diego.

At this point, it’s probably a safe bet that Newsom will be forced to face the voters in a recall election, but unless things change drastically in the next few months, he’ll probably hold on to his job. If Californians really want to be rid of this guy, their best bet may unfortunately be to find somebody from his own party to primary him and take him out that way.