California’s recall election cost taxpayers $276 million and Newsom prevailed; Was it worth it?

Democratic governor Gavin Newsom successfully beat back a recall election that attempted to remove him from office. 

Numbers show 64% of registered voters voted ‘no’ on the recall while 36% voted ‘yes’. 

46 candidates launched campaigns in hopes of unseating Newsom and bringing change to the Golden State but Newsom showed strong support and kept his spot as governor. 

Was the failed recall attempt worth it? Data from the state of California shows that the recall cost taxpayers $276 million.

The state says money was budgeted for when the recall petition gained enough signatures to pass. 

RELATED: Californians vote no on recall election, keeping Dem. Governor Newsom in office

California recall election results: See state and county results

One day after the election, Democrats in the state Legislature said they will push for changes to make it more difficult to challenge a sitting governor.

Those reforms could include increasing the number of signatures needed to force a recall election, raising the standard to require wrongdoing on the part of the officeholder and changing the process that could permit someone with a small percentage of votes to replace the state’s top elected official.

"I think the recall process has been weaponized," Newsom said a day after his decisive victory. He added that the recall rules affect not just governors but school boards, city councils, county supervisors and district attorneys, notably in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where liberal prosecutors are being challenged.

The governor noted that California has one of the nation’s lowest thresholds for the number of signatures needed to trigger a recall election. Proponents had to collect nearly 1.5 million signatures out of California’s 22 million registered voters in their bid to oust him, or 12% of the electorate who voted him into office in 2018.

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Marc Berman and State Senator Steve Glazer put the wheels in motion to review the 110-year-old law. 

"We need to create a system where a small, small, small minority of Californians can’t create, can’t initiate a recall that the California taxpayers spent almost $300 million on and that frankly distracts and really has an impact on our ability to govern for nine months," Berman said.

"I’m worried about the fact that our society has gotten so polarized and the threshold for putting a recall on the ballot is so low that it creates an opportunity that this could happen on an annual basis," Berman told FOX 11.

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He says joint legislative meetings could be held as early as next month with the goal of coming up with reforms to the recall process. 

Newsom is the second governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall; the first was Wisconsin Republican Scott Walker. 

The last time a recall election was held in California was 2003 when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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