For weeks, former Acting Director of National Intelligence and former Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell’s name has been floated as a possible candidate for California governor should a recall against Gavin Newsom qualify for the ballot. Grenell hasn’t been shy in shooting down the rumors, choosing instead to focus on ensuring the recall indeed qualifies for the ballot.
Even during remarks given during a Log Cabin Republicans event Friday, Grenell said that everyone’s attention right now should be on ensuring there are enough valid signatures on recall petitions to qualify it for the ballot, and only once that happens should there be a discussion of who should replace him. However, he promised that “The MAGA crowd will definitely have a voice in choosing the candidate.”
He says he's fully committed to getting signatures for recall verified before discussing who should replace Newsom. He says "The MAGA crowd will definitely have a voice in choosing the candidate"
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) February 26, 2021
Saturday morning, Grenell addressed CPAC attendees from the main stage and chronicled Newsom’s failures as governor, then ended with a bit of a tease.
Grenell cast this fight as not one between Republicans and Democrats, but one between the establishment and everyone else. He said:
This is a fight between the insiders and the outsiders, between Washington DC and the rest of America. Of course, if things get really bad with elected officials there’s always the option to recall them.
If you want the best case possible for a recall campaign, take a look at my home state of California. California used to be Reagan Country, the shining example of business innovation and middle-class success. But now when you think of California you think of out-of-control wildfires, of rolling blackouts, of schools still closed, of shuttered businesses, of bans on fracking, and wealthy people jumping the vaccine line.
Yes, despite all of the focus on “equity,” wealthy Californians are jumping the vaccine line — because the bureaucratic geniuses had a bunch of handouts printed with special access codes for vaccine appointments, with the aim of having social workers and such give those handouts to their clients. Well, a bunch of wealthy people got ahold of those access codes and have been using them to get vaccinated. Wealthy people who most likely voted for Gavin Newsom and supposedly care about equity. (As long as they get theirs.) But I digress.
Back to Grenell:
Did you know that Gavin Newsom, the California governor, originally purchased $1 billion of masks and other protective equipment from a Chinese company when American companies with the same equipment were based in California?
In my three decades in American politics I have never seen a better case for a recall than there is right now in California. And, of course, if a public official is still failing to deliver on their promises, and if you can’t limit their term or recall them in time, there’s always one other option. You can run against them yourself.
What that means exactly isn’t clear. It seems that Grenell is signaling that he’ll run against Newsom in 2022, when he’s up for re-election, if the recall doesn’t qualify. It’s understandable that Grenell wants to focus on getting the necessary petition recall signatures gathered and verified before signaling his own intentions, but if he were to commit to run should the recall election qualify that would probably help recall organizers push past the finish line. There are currently two main GOP candidates who have declared their intent to run in any recall election, and neither of them fires up the base. Grenell can operate outside the California GOP structure and speak straight to the voters, would have a solid fundraising ability, and has higher name recognition than either current GOP candidate. Conservatives in California who want to recall Newsom but who aren’t convinced that we’d do any better in a recall election could be swayed to give full support to the recall if they knew Grenell would definitely be a candidate in the recall election.