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State Politics: California To Lose House Seat For The First Time In History, Plus Newsom Recall Effort Gathers Enough Signatures To Make Ballot




California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a news conference after he toured the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021 in Alameda, California.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a news conference after he toured the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021 in Alameda, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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California, for decades a symbol of boundless growth and opportunity that attracted people from across the country and abroad, has seen its population growth stall and is losing a U.S. House seat for the first time in its 170-year history. Census Bureau population data released Monday is used to determine how the nation’s 435 House seats are allocated. California remains the most populous by far with nearly 39.58 million people but it is growing more slowly than other states and will see its House delegation drop from 53 to 52. California's loss of a House seat also means a possible dip in federal funding for Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for low-income people, as well as less money for highways, schools and a wide array of social services that are based on population. Now that the number of congressional seats is known, states can embark on the decennial process of redrawing congressional maps, known as redistricting. That process won’t start until late summer or fall because of a delay in releasing neighborhood-level population data. 

Meanwhile, organizers of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom have collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The California secretary of state’s office announced Monday that more than 1.6 million signatures had been verified, about 100,000 more than needed to force a vote on the first-term Democrat. People who signed petitions now have 30 days to withdraw their signatures, though it’s unlikely enough will do so to stop the question from going to voters. 

An election is likely in the fall where voters would face two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? The votes on the second question will only be counted if more than half say yes to the first. If Newsom survives the recall he will be up for reelection in 2022. Among the most prominent Republicans running to replace Newsom are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who has never run for elected office. Businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in 2018, and former Congressman Doug Ose, also are running. 

Today on AirTalk, we’ll look at what happens next with both the redistricting process that this new Census data triggers and the effort to recall Governor Newsom.

For more on this from KPCC/LAist reporter Caroline Champlin, click here.

Guest:

Libby Denkmann, KPCC/LAist senior politics reporter; she tweets @libdenk