New poll shows Gascon recall could have succeeded if it had made it on the ballot

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File

Last week the LA County Registrar announced that the effort to recall George Gascon had failed. Supporters had submitted just over 715,000 signatures and needed a total of 566,857 valid signatures to get the recall on the ballot this fall. But an examination found that only 520,050 of the signatures were valid. The rest didn’t count for a number of reasons including those who signed twice, those whose address didn’t match county records and nearly 90,000 who simply weren’t registered to vote in LA County.


Today the LA Times highlights just how lucky DA Gascon was. Had LA residents cared enough to get this on the ballot, there’s a good chance the vote would have gone against him.

Los Angeles Dist. Atty. George Gascón got a lucky break when his opponents failed to gather enough valid signatures to put a recall on the ballot. If it had gone before voters, the recall had a good chance of winning, a new poll shows.

The recall campaign would have started off with a 41% to 20% lead countywide, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

Ballot measures often lose support as a campaign goes along, and with 39% of voters undecided on the recall, the outcome would have been far from certain.

But the poll indicates Gascón would have started off with a large disadvantage.

Based on these numbers I think he would have lost. His negatives were high and I don’t see any way he could have turned that around. His entire tenure has been one embarrassing story after another. There would surely have been several more between now and November.

RedState posted an exclusive story last week looking at how this debacle happened. Author Jennifer Van Laar concluded the failure wasn’t a foregone conclusion. It happened because the people spending the money kept spending it on incompetent contractors.


The Recall George Gascón effort failed because the committee’s purse strings were controlled by political consultants who were being paid by the campaign, and who contracted with vendors on the basis of cronyism or financial gain instead of competency. Despite the vast sums of money raised and spent, the quality of the signatures submitted to LA County was “embarrassingly incompetent,” in the words of one former professional who viewed some of the materials provided to RedState.

Van Laar also reports the signature gathering firm was in a battle with the recall campaign over payment rates.

One contention made by LTVD in the lawsuit is that the recall committee was unwilling to pay the market rate per signature, making it difficult for them to find a sufficient number of gatherers. However, screenshots from a private Facebook group administered by Mark Jacoby, owner of LTVD, show that he actively encouraged gatherers to leave California for Michigan, saying, “Michigan is where it’s at,” and, “It’s up to you to prove that when we get paid correctly and we’re able to make a fair living wage to support us and our families, we can get anything done!!! Then if a campaign is not willing to do that, they won’t get on the ballot!”…

LTVD was paid at least $3.2 million during the campaign, and it’s apparent that a chunk of those monies were paid for extremely shoddy work while Jacoby himself was in Cancun and the Bahamas, according to his travel blog.


Anyway, despite the $8 million dollars raised, it sounds like the recall effort was a complete mess and not run professionally. LA really did not have to be stuck with this guy. There was a real chance to get this done under slightly better circumstances. Van Laar appeared on a local news channel to detail her reporting last week.

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