When Orange County Democrat Josh Newman won a tight state Senate race in November, he thought his future was clear.
But that was then. Now, just a few months later, the rookie officeholder is facing an unprecedented recall effort that could not only end his political career but also cost Democrats their undisputed control of the state Legislature.
State GOP officials said last week that they have collected nearly 85,000 raw signatures calling for the Fullerton Democrat’s ouster. They need 63,593 valid signatures to force a recall election.
Republicans and Democrats already are raising money, threatening lawsuits and preparing for a battle that will stretch well into next year.
If Newman can be replaced by a Republican, that ends the Democrats’ 27-member, two-thirds majority in the state Senate and gives GOP legislators bargaining power they now lack, said Steve Stambough, a political science professor at Cal State Fullerton.
“It’s about the supermajority,” he said. “But not only that, it’s a chance for Republicans to reclaim a district they thought they weren’t going to lose.”
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