Politics

CA GOP looks to break Democratic 'supermajority'

Conservatives want to recall state Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) as part of an effort to repeal recent gas and vehicle tax increases and eliminate the Democrats' supermajority in the legislature.
Conservatives want to recall state Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) as part of an effort to repeal recent gas and vehicle tax increases and eliminate the Democrats' supermajority in the legislature.
Jill Replogle

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A group led by San Diego Republican Carl DeMaio launched a recall campaign Thursday against state Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton. The group is targeting the freshman senator over his recent vote for a $52 billion transportation  package that includes a 12-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax and new fees on car registration. 

The tax increases, which required a two-thirds vote in the legislature, are the first to be passed under the Democratic supermajority. 

Senator Newman, who represents parts of Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, is seen as a weak link in that supermajority because of his narrow win over Republican opponent Ling Ling Chang in the November election. 

“He only won by a couple thousand votes," said DeMaio, who launched the campaign from an Arco gas station near downtown Fullerton, along with KFI talk show hosts John Kobylt and Kenneth Chiampou. "He should’ve been more responsible to his constituents. He broke trust and faith, and so he needs to go."

But DeMaio was clear about the larger goal: “End the supermajority.” 

Senator Newman defended his vote in favor of the transportation bill. 

“We as a state have neglected our transportation and transit systems for about 25 years and there simply isn’t enough money in the general fund to start making a difference on the give-or-take $130 billion deferred maintenance,” he said. 

He added that it was clear that the Republican Party would “like to have a re-do” for the election of his seat. 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has joined DeMaio’s organization, Reform California, in supporting the recall effort.

They must collect 63,593 signatures — 20 percent of voters who cast ballots for the office in the November election — by Oct. 16 to qualify a recall for the ballot.