A few hundred people from across Southern California came together Sunday afternoon for a downtown San Diego rally focused on a new recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Shouting pro-police chants and carrying signs with messages like “Open California Now” and “My Rights Can’t Be Regulated,” the crowd cheered a series of speakers who accused the governor of violating the constitutional rights of state residents.

“Today, we are fighting a tyrannical and oppressive governor in Sacramento, but we’re gonna win,” said Dan Summers, a Ramona resident who served as emcee for the event. “When somebody steps over the line and takes away our constitutional rights, it’s our right, responsibility and duty to recall that individual.”

Leaders of the campaign, who are mostly Republicans, say that Newsom, a Democrat, overstepped by shutting down the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other speakers at the event, which was held in front of the County Administration Center on Harbor Drive, said a successful recall effort is possible despite Newsom’s generally high approval ratings. The only California governor to be recalled was Gray Davis in 2003.

“It’s not that hard to recall the governor of California if we get the word out,” said Mike Netter, a leader of the new recall effort. “Your mission today is to get the word out.”

Netter said the campaign needs to submit 2 million signatures so organizers can be confident that the required 1.5 million of them will be valid. They face a deadline of Nov. 17.

Netter said that while registered Democrats make up 42 percent of California voters, they are outnumbered by a combination of the 22 percent of voters who are Republicans and the 27 percent who are independents.

Mark Wooten from Encinitas said he is confident Newsom can be removed from office.

“It’s definitely an uphill climb, that’s why need to vocalize and inform people about how this Newsom operates,” he said. “The virus was the tipping point, but mainly it’s the way he’s mismanaged the state and the way he circumvents the Legislature.”

Many other people in the audience said the governor overreacted to COVID-19. Only a tiny fraction of the audience was wearing masks.

The national anthem was sung by Coffey Anderson, a country singer who appeared on “American Idol” in 2003.


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