‘Friday Night at the French Laundry’ aims to humiliate Gov. Gavin Newsom as recall looks more likely

A sign appeals to passersby to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, February 21, 2021, in Palm Desert, California. Photo by Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The recall of Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to appear on the fall ballot as state officials announce they’ve validated more than 1.2 million signatures on the petition (1.5 million signatures are needed). The recall campaign has gotten a lot of help from “Friday Night at the French Laundry,” a radio show that launched in late January on KABC-AM in Los Angeles. Three men with little prior political experience launched the show: Mike Netter, Orrin Heatlie, and Randy Economy.

David Siders, national political correspondent at Politico, explains that Heatlie is a retired sheriff’s sergeant from Sacramento, Netter joined politics to try to recall then California Senator Kamala Harris, and Economy previously worked in political consulting.

Governor Gavin Newsom is labeling the recall movement as efforts of the far-right. According to Siders, the three hosts are adamant Trump supporters, while other proponents have been seen at far-right events. 

“If you go to a rally where they're gathering petitions, it’s very reminiscent of going to a rally about ‘Stop the Steal,’ the false claim that the election was stolen. In fact, much of the rhetoric is about that or it's anti-vax. It's pushing conspiracy theories,” he says.  

Siders says recall efforts have slim but possible chances of succeeding. The last California governor who was recalled was Gray Davis in 2003. But Siders says California is more democratic than before. 

“It's almost two to one democratic now. … Newsom has to clear 50%. But then if he doesn't, he's not on the second ballot [and] people would choose from probably what will be a massive list of alternatives.” 

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