Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are backing California activists’ longshot bid to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.

“The ‘blue wave’ that the left-wing media spent months talking about disappeared in California,” Gingrich told Politico Friday in a statement.  “This is a direct result of Gavin Newsom’s destructive leadership that has crippled small businesses and sent billions of dollars of California COVID-19 jobless benefits to criminals across the nation.”

Gingrich’s comments referred to Republican candidates winning four House seats Democrat candidates on in the 2018 elections. But even with losing the seats, Joe Biden took 63.5% of the vote in November and there are no Republicans in statewide offices. 

However, Newsom has angered residents in the state when he attended a dinner party at the expensive French Laundry restaurant for a key lobbyist while ordering coronavirus-related closures statewide. 

Gingrich, in backing the push to recall Newsom, pointed to the governor’s stay-home orders and reports that crime rings have allegedly been working with inmates in California’s prisons to rope in hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits. 

“Newt Gingrich’s endorsement will bring us into the national spotlight,” Rescue California Chair Tom Del Beccaro, one of the recall movement’s leading proponents, said. “He’s all in: he will support us through social media, with donor phone calls, Zoom meetings, and fundraising emails.”

Gingrich joined the effort a day after Huckabee, a radio talk show host, tweeted his endorsement of the recall efforts. 

Newsom campaign spokesperson Dan Newman pointed out that the recall effort is being backed by President Donald Trump’s supporters. He said he finds the timing “interesting” that at the “same moment the Supreme Court rejects Trump’s last-ditch effort to overturn an election, Trump, Gingrich, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox are refusing to “play by the rules.”

Faulconer and Cox are both considering candidacies for the governor’s office. 

Last month, a Sacramento Superior Court gave the recall backers until March to gather 1,495,709 verified signatures, representing 12% of the vote for governor in 2018. So far, the campaign has submitted 297,567 signatures, over the 10% threshold that is needed to trigger counties’ signature verifications. 

The California Republican Party is also officially endorsing the movement. 

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