Recall Effort Launched Against California Governor

By Chris Rizo | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

Sacramento ( - One of California's leading taxpayer rights organizations plans to launch a recall effort against Gov. Gray Davis.

"Simply put, the people of the state of California cannot wait four years to get our financial house in order," said Ted Costa of People's Advocate, a Sacramento-based nonpartisan watchdog group.

The Democratic governor, Costa said, transformed the record budget surplus that he inherited from his Republican predecessor into the largest spending deficit in state history.

"The governor has allowed this issue to get to the boiling point," Costa said, noting that California's projected revenue shortfall over the next 17 months has soared to $34.8 billion, according to the governor's own economic advisors.

Shawn Steel, chairman of the California Republican Party, joined Costa at the announcement, pledging his party's commitment to help collect the 897,156 signatures needed to force a recall election.

"My intent is to bring the Republican Party into this effort," Steel told reporters, adding that he has consulted with leading Republicans in the Legislature, and they too stand behind the effort.

A spokesman for Assembly Minority Leader Dave Cox, however, said no such conversations took place. Steel, he added, is not acting in concert with Republican leaders from the Legislature.

Democratic campaign advisor Bob Mulholland downplayed the threat of a recall, saying it would cost millions to round up the sufficient number of signatures, money that the cash-strapped GOP doesn't have.

Republican state Assemblyman Bob Pacheco, who is often a critic of the governor, agreed.

He stated that the $200,000 Costa said the organization has at its fingertips to bankroll the recall effort is "peanuts" compared with what would actually be required.

As for the state Republican Party offering support, Pacheco said that money could be better spent than on what he called a futile attempt to unseat the governor.

"When it comes right down to it," Pacheco said, "people would rather stay with somebody they know rather than face the unknown."

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.