Grenell still considering California recall offer as Republican field grows

Richard Grenell

Richard Grenell, the former acting director of National Intelligence, said he was still thinking about running in the recall election against California Governor Gavin Newsom. | Darko Vojinovic / AP photo

Richard Grenell, Acting Director of National Intelligence under former President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday he was still considering running in the recall election against California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“I have to figure this out by about August or September,” Grenell told Fox News presenter Sean Hannity when asked if he would start the race. “We’re considering it. My criteria only apply in the long run: How can this be solved in the long run? How can we ensure that it’s not just a flash in the pan?”

“I want to do in California what Stacey Abrams has done with Georgia, and I think it will take about four years,” he added before promoting the Fix California Political Action Committee.

Grenell has been largely silent on his recall plans for the past few weeks, as other GOP nominees also took part in the contest, notably reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. He introduced Trump’s former advisers to help launch his campaign – including Brad Parscale, Trump’s former manager – and they thought he would try to demand Republicans aligning with Trump in California for the first time.

But Jenner’s campaign struggled to become more attractive after some misunderstandings and a lack of a basic constituency. In the first major poll released Tuesday morning, he received 6 percent support, and only 13 percent of Republicans said he would support him.

In addition to Jenner, three prominent Republicans have already said they will run against Newsom: Kevin Faulconer, former mayor of San Diego, former MP Doug Ose and businessman John Cox. They are all making fun of being Newsom’s deputy senior candidates. Faulconer entered the race soonest, but Jenner’s recent effort attracted the most media attention and public scrutiny.

Faulconer and Cox each conducted a 22 percent poll in a survey released Tuesday at the Berkeley Institute for Government Studies. Ose received 14 percent support. The survey does not appear to have asked Grenell.

In California, there are low barriers to running in recall elections, which led to a flood of candidates during the 2003 recall of Governor Gray Davis, when film star Arnold Schwarzenegger took over the governor’s mansion. The wave of candidates is similarly large expected for the recall elections scheduled for the fall.

Newsom has gained momentum in recent weeks as the rate of Covid-19 has declined, businesses have restarted and state budget revenues continue to grow. According to the Berkeley poll, 49 percent oppose recalling Newsom, compared to 35 percent support – a better number than the governor in January.

The recall has not yet been formalized, but supporters have collected more than enough valid signatures to qualify the election. It is probably scheduled for late October or November.

When the state’s only governor was recalled in 2003, Schwarzenegger waited until early August to declare his candidacy before winning the October election.