The DeMaio Report with Carl DeMaio

The DeMaio Report with Carl DeMaio

The DeMaio Report offers candid discussion on the latest in local and national political headlines, policies and reform. The show also features input...Full Bio


CA Democrats Adopt Measure to Protect Corrupt Politicians from Recalls

A new bill approved by State Senate Democrats seeks to change the recall process for local officials to make it impossible for voters to use the tool to combat corruption and effect change. Reform California is leading the fight to oppose the bill and protect the rights of California voters to recall corrupt and bad politicians from office.

Since the early 1900s, California voters have had a powerful tool to combat corruption in state and local government and to hold politicians accountable. The Recall power allows voters to remove a politician from office midway through their term and replace that politician with a new one.

California Democrats have long feared the Recall powers of citizens - and now they are making a move to limit that power. Democrats in the State Senate approved a bill this week, AB-2582, to change the recall process to allow incumbent politicians, rather than voters, to appoint replacements in Recall elections.  

Democrats say they are simply trying to remove “hyper-partisanship” from Recalls, but Recall supporters say the Democrats are the ones being hyper-partisan and are simply trying to limit the rights of voters to replace bad politicians.

Despite hundreds of recall attempts since 1913, only a handful have succeeded — the most famous of which being the recall of Democrat Governor Gray Davis in 2003 and Democrat State Senator Josh Newman in 2018.

Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California and a leader of the successful effort to recall Senator Josh Newman over his vote to raise the state Gas Tax, said that the new bill is a nakedly partisan attempt to protect Democrat politicians. 

“This bill makes it easier for corrupt and bad politicians to remain in power,” said DeMaio. 

The law currently allows for voters to recall an official and choose their replacement on the same ballot. Senate Democrats, however, argue that this process could result in a replacement being chosen by a minority of voters in a multi-candidate field — potentially with fewer votes than the official who is ousted.

The Democrats’ bill would eliminate the second step of local recalls in selecting a replacement, instead letting the local government appoint a replacement or call a special election.

DeMaio says that the Recall process is an important tool for voters to use to send a message to politicians that they don’t like the direction a certain board or government is taking. 

“When a board may be close to approving a bad policy, the threat of Recall can cause those politicians to stop and rethink the bad policy,” DeMaio says. “If those same politicians know that they won’t have to deal with a reform-minded new member who is placed on their board through a Recall, they may have less worry about adopting the bad policy,” DeMaio argues.

“In a state where Democrats control majorities of state and local government, allowing local governments to appoint replacements of recalled officials subverts voter will and can near-guarantee Democrat replacements intent on pursuing the same bad policies that may have led to the recall will be appointed,” he continued.

While AB-2582 does not currently apply to recalls of state officials, DeMaio warns that will be next if the Assembly and Governor Gavin Newsom (D) allow it to pass.

“This bill is to test the waters of political blowback for limiting our constitutional recall rights, but Newman, Newsom, and the rest of the state Democrats will definitely crack down on the recall process even more if we let them get away with it,” DeMaio explained.

Before it becomes law, the bill must first be approved in the State Assembly at the end of the month, then it will head to Governor Newsom’s desk for his approval.

That’s why DeMaio is calling for the public to make their opposition known to the bill before it’s too late. 

“Call or email your local Assemblymember and tell them to reject this dangerous bill that subverts the will of voters — or they might face a recall themselves!” said DeMaio.

In addition to fighting against this bill, DeMaio and Reform California are leading the fight to flip key seats in the 2022 election and oust politicians that show support for subverting the will of voters.

Join the Fight: Flip Key Seats in 2022

Assembly Member Contacts: Visit

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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