California Recall Over Gas Tax Hike Gains Traction

Republicans gathered 84,988 signatures, 20,000 more than needed

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California Republicans opposed to the latest gas tax increase said they have gathered more than enough signatures to launch a recall effort against Assemblyman Josh Newman, a recently elected Democrat whose surprise win gave his party a super-majority that could pass tax increases without a single GOP vote.

Carl DeMaio, a conservative San Diego talk radio host who is leading the recall effort, said Republicans opposed to the most recent gas tax hike Newman backed submitted 84,988 signatures for the recall effort on Tuesday, nearly 20,000 more than the 63,592 the law requires.

"The overwhelming number of signatures we collected in just six weeks demonstrates a real rebellion is brewing in California against the out-of-control tax raisers in the state legislature," DeMaio told the Washington Free Beacon.

If the counties where the signatures were collected do not dispute their validity, the recall election would be held shortly after Nov. 1, the start of the new gas tax increase.

DeMaio and other like-minded Republicans say that Newman cast the deciding vote April 6 in favor of a $52 billon transportation package that included an increase in gas taxes and car registration fees to pay for it. Newman won a narrow victory against Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang in November in a seat that had been held by termed-out Republican Bob Huff.

The recall campaign against Newman is only the beginning of a broader state-wide push to repeal the gas tax increases—one that DeMaio said could resonate enough to impact the mid-term congressional races as well.

"This recall against the state senator who cast the deciding vote to approve the car and gas taxes is just the start," he said. "We intend to place a repeal of the car and gas tax hikes on the ballot for the November 2018 election which we believe will significantly impact legislative races."

"It is possible our measure to repeal the gas tax will influence the control of Congress in 2018," he said.

A Newman spokesman did not immediately respond to a Free Beacon inquiry about the signatures. Newman has previously pointed out that the most crucial vote for the April 6 gas tax increase was that of GOP Sen. Anthony Cannella of Modesto, who supported the bill in return for $500 million in projects for his district.

Democratic Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon has said his side will marshal its resources to protect Newman should the recall effort gain traction.

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree   Email Susan | Full Bio | RSS
Susan Crabtree is a senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. She is a veteran Washington reporter who has covered the White House and Congress over the past two decades. She has written for the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, the Hill newspaper, Roll Call, and Congressional Quarterly.

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