Newsom’s nightmare

As the effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom heats up, Politico reported today that he and his allies are taking aggressive steps to stomp out other Democrat candidates looking to succeed him if he’s recalled.

If California voters were to vote YES on question 1 on the recall ballot, voters would then have to select a new governor.

Democrats are now faced with quite the dilemma: go all in for Newsom or hedge their bets with a backup option on question 2. Per this new story, Team Newsom will not make it easy for them!

In case you missed it…

Politico: Newsom swats away Democratic challengers. Will his party live to regret it?

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s camp has one message for Democrats considering a California recall bid: Don’t even think about it.

The mere hint of a candidacy draws immediate condemnation from Newsom attack dog Sean Clegg, while other Newsom surrogates are making clear publicly and privately that any Democratic challenger will become persona non grata in the party.

Minutes after POLITICO reported Tuesday that former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer was surveying voters on his recall chances, Clegg tweeted that Steyer doesn’t want to be “the cynical, vulture-investing billionaire who bet against Democratic unity so Trump Republicans can take CA.”

After former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for California schools to reopen immediately amid talk of a potential candidacy, Clegg last week fired off a clear rebuke: “My old friend Antonio will embarrass himself and forever poison his legacy if he runs,” he wrote.

“That’s how you lose,” Clegg, a strategist for Newsom, said in an interview. “We need to hold our base.”

It is all but certain that California will have its second gubernatorial recall ever, likely this fall, based on an official state signature tally released last week. The state’s unique recall system lends itself to a delicate intraparty dance. California asks two questions: first, do you want to recall Newsom, and second, who should replace him if the recall is successful? The rules don’t allow Newsom to appear on that replacement list of contenders who would take his job.

As the prospect of a Villaraigosa candidacy gained steam in recent weeks, other Newsom allies tried to blunt that momentum. Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez declined to share his private conversations with Villaraigosa and stressed that he does not speak for the former mayor, but Núñez predicted that “at the end of the day, all of the Democratic establishment and Democratic activists are going to be on the side of Gov. Gavin Newsom.”