Schwarzenegger calls Newsom challenge identical to his own 2003 win

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Schwarzenegger calls Newsom challenge identical to his own 2003 win

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger believes the atmosphere around this year’s gubernatorial recall election is “exactly the same,” as it was in 2003 — when the acclaimed action movie star became the first person in state history to win a gubernatorial race in a recall election. 

Next week, Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall election that was brought on by heavy criticism of his coronavirus pandemic measures, including stay-at-home orders and mask mandates. If more than half of voters support his recall, the Democrat will be removed from office and replaced by the top-polling candidate of potential replacements.

The last California governor to be recalled was Democrat Gray Davis in 2003. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, made history by replacing him.  

During an interview on the CNN podcast, “Total Recall: California’s Political Circus,” the former action star said mass dissatisfaction among voters is “very dangerous,” for Newsom in the coming days. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a "Vote No" get out the vote tour  campaign stop at Mission Language and Vocational School on Sept. 7, 2021 in San Francisco.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a “Vote No” get out the vote tour campaign stop at Mission Language and Vocational School on Sept. 7, 2021, in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“It’s very dangerous for him because you got to take this stuff seriously. For too long, they didn’t take it seriously. But now I think they do take it seriously,” he said of Newsom’s team. 

Schwarzenegger said the atmosphere around both elections are “exactly the same,” citing the voter’s dissatisfaction and anger. 

Former California Gov. Gray Davis was recalled in 2003.
Former California Gov. Gray Davis was recalled in 2003.
AFP via Getty Images

“There’s a reason why people are angry and they’re not just disappointed. … I drive by homeless people every day when I go to Gold’s Gym and I talk to some of them. They’re angry the way they’ve been pushed around and they’ve been promised things and no delivery,” he said, adding, “This is your environment in front of a store that you’re paying taxes for and you’re paying a lot of rent for, this is inexcusable. Where’s the protection for our business community that it pays its taxes?”

Despite his coronavirus mandates being a driving force behind the recall effort, Newsom and his team are appearing to put all focus on his efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the final days. 

Last week, Newsom’s team highlighted mass vaccination records in the state, pointing out that “more than 80 percent of eligible Californians have at least one dose” of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

“MILESTONE: More than 80% of eligible Californians have at least one dose of the #COVID19 vaccine & we continue to lead the nation with 48M shots in arms. Now, we’re in a pandemic of the unvaccinated as they fill up hospitals & ICUs. Vaccines are how we end this pandemic,” the governor’s office tweeted on Aug. 31.

The same day, Newsom shone a spotlight on the state’s positive case rates and compared them to higher ones in states with Republican governors, like Florida. 

Vice President Kamala Harris will be joining Newsom at an event Wednesday afternoon to show her support for the embattled governor. Her visit is a do-over for a rally that Harris was forced to cancel in the wake of the horrific terror attack on US troops at Kabul’s airport.

President Biden also intends to visit California next week to campaign for Newsom, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki who told reporters that “he will be” traveling to California to stump for the governor.

“I expect we’ll have more to report to all of you or announce — on a trip he’ll take early next week — later today,” Psaki said.

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