With just 5% voter support, relatively unknown cannabis policy advisor Jackie McGowan has moved up to a third-place ranking out of dozens of candidates in California’s potential recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
McGowan is trailing a conservative radio talk show host and another fellow Democrat. Running on a campaign based in large part on fixing California’s legal cannabis industry, McGowan has attained stronger name recognition than former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and Republican State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley.
“As a top-three candidate who emerged from a field of 46, I look forward to debating my opponents,” McGowan said. “When you look at Larry Elder’s and Kevin Paffrath’s position on responding to Covid-19 and the Recall, they are two peas in a pod and wrong for California.”
Most voters appear to oppose the recall of Newsom. A recent poll by Change Research, a San Francisco firm that conducts polling for Democratic candidates and progressive causes, showed 57% opposed the recall.
“To me, these are very encouraging numbers for Newsom and the ‘no’ campaign,” said Ben Greenfield, Change Research senior pollster. “What was driving those June numbers was that enthusiasm was lagging among Democratic voters. And what we see now is as the ballots go out, the ‘no’ campaign is spending a lot of money to make sure voters know what the stakes are. That message is getting through.”
The website FiveThirtyEight, which infamously predicted a Clinton landslide victory in 2016, shows Newsom holding a much smaller edge, with slightly more than half of likely voters opposed to the recall.
While McGowan opposes removing Newsom from office, she launched her campaign as an insurance policy against the Republican-led recall effort. Her campaign is focused on addressing the needs of California’s legal marijuana industry, homelessness, and justice reform.
“Governor Newsom was a major proponent of cannabis legalization, but his administration’s implementation of the law has harmed so many Californians and even led to an increase in suicides,” McGowan said in a July press release. “We need a Governor who understands cannabis and economics and can make California work for all Californians.”
A cannabis consultant since 2014, McGowan is also an 18-year Wall Street veteran. She believes in relaxing California’s marijuana regulations and supporting small businesses.
“Lowering the barriers to entry in the legal cannabis market will not only bring in an estimated $5 billion in extra revenue to the state of California, it will also disincentivize criminal organizations from stealing away market share,” said McGowan.
Under the laws that govern the California recall election, if a majority of voters choose to remove Newsom from office, the candidate with a plurality of the votes will become California’s next governor. It’s possible Newsom could be replaced by a candidate who receives fewer votes than those cast to retain him.