SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The fight for the governor's seat in California is heating up with five weeks to go until the election concludes.
On the Central Coast, one democratic group has formed a coalition to support Gavin Newsom among different community groups, but supporters of the recall say his handling of the pandemic will ultimately force him out of office.
Monterey County Democrats held a rally in support of Newsom in East Salinas on Wednesday, a small but meaningful showing.
If you are a registered voter in California, you will receive a ballot in the mail next week starting on Monday. On it will be two questions: should Gavin Newsom be recalled? And if so, who should take his place?
"We believe that the recall effort is anti-worker, anti-union, anti-democratic. Keeping Governor Newsom is going to be best for California," said Jesus Valenzuela, the spokesperson for Monterey County Democrats.
Labor unions like the Teamsters 890 and the United Farm Workers threw in their support for the governor.
Newsom came under fire for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic closures and the subsequent economic downturn, with thousands losing their jobs and businesses permanently closing their doors.
However, those who want to recall Newsom also feel the state government is overstepping on their rights.
"Putting masks on children to me is child abuse. I cannot fathom teaching in a classroom with children with masks on," said Charlaine Carter, a Pro-Recall Newsom activist in the Monterey Peninsula.
Yet, supporters say the measures have worked.
"We do believe that you know what, Governor Newsom hasn't been perfect on everything, but if we look at the data, California overall has the least amount of COVID infections," said Valenzuela.
Democrats in the state are worried about one thing: voter turnout. They need to get enough of their supporters to come out and actually cast their ballots, either by mail or in person.
Most against Newsom have not only pointed to the pandemic, but also to an increase in crime and a perceived worsening of the homelessness crisis as reasons he should be kicked out of office.
"In Monterey County, we didn't have that much COVID to warrant closing down all of our… even the gardeners were not allowed to go in and garden, are you kidding me?" said Carter.
"We believe that a lot of the leadership is because of Governor Newsom," said Valenzuela. "In East Salinas in particular where rent is getting much higher, he was able to pass a rent moratorium."
Cal Matters reports if more than half of voters choose not to recall Newsom, he will stay in office. But if more than half say yes, he will be forced out.