WaPo reports that

The announcement tonight by California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley that the recall election will be held in 60 to 80 days capped a remarkable political saga — and signals a major embarrassment for the Democrats and Davis, who was once considered a likely contender for the White House.

Just a few months ago, most political handicappers thought the recall effort had little chance of getting on the ballot, but the movement to remove Davis tapped into deep unhappiness among voters who have watched in shock and awe as the state stumbled through a self-made energy crisis and is now essentially broke and saddled with an unprecedented $38 billion budget shortfall.

Into this breach come Republicans such as film actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is seriously considering offering himself as a Davis successor.

California, already on the cutting edge for its embrace of voter initiatives, is making history again. Since the recall option was made law in 1911, there have been 31 failed attempts to get one on the ballot in California.

I’m still not thrilled with the do-over aspect of this process, but it should indeed be interesting.

Update (1258): Kevin Drum and I are on the same sheet of music for once!

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    I dunno James-

    I think once in a while we should just yank a few of them out of there just to remind them that we can. 😉

    It reminds the electorate who is SUPPOSED to be in charge.

    my 2 cents.


  2. James Joyner says:


    Sure. The problem is that, while recalls are certainly within the rules, it smacks of foul play to do it this soon after an election. Had the GOP put up a decent candidate, he could have beaten Davis. Davis really hasn’t done anything since re-election to merit this; he was a lousy governor before.

  3. Mala says:

    I’m with James on this one.

    I’d hate to see other states jump on this recall bandwagon. The parties might start using it as plan B if their candidate loses the election.

    And the fact that it’s easier to get elected with the recall process… that’s just plain scary.

  4. Jimbo says:

    Gray Davis was able to hide his lies until after the election. The California constitution gives us (the residents of California) the ability to recall certain elected officials.

    Who would be better than Davis?

    I say a randomly selected death row inmate would be a better choice than Davis.