OAKLAND, Calif. — A crowd of national Democratic leaders on Monday put their muscle behind California Gov. Gavin Newsom to fight the recall, dubbing it an extremist "Republican power grab" and launching their first opposition ad.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alex Padilla, as well as Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, all simultaneously announced their opposition to the recall efforts. The Democrats launched the official Stop the Republican Recall campaign, the clearest sign yet that the political establishment believes the recall election will qualify this year.

The effort debuted a new ad which accused the recall movement of being pushed by supporters of President Donald Trump, including anti-vaccine activists and "extremist violence white supremacists like the Proud Boys who attacked our nation’s Capitol on January 6."

“Gavin Newsom has shown the nation what courageous leadership looks like during the pandemic,” Sen. Cory Booker says on the new website. “He’s made tough calls that kept Californians safe and helped them recover financially. Defeating this cynical, Republican recall effort will be one of the most important priorities for Democrats this year.”

The organizers of two committees backing the recall, RescueCalifornia.org and RecallGavin2020.com, say they have collected more than 2 million voter signatures to date — far in excess of the 1.5 million valid signatures they must produce to qualify the recall election, which would be held later this year. The petition signatures must be turned into 58 county registrars by 5 p.m. March 17.

Republican strategist Matt Shupe called the move a desperate measure unveiled the same day that the California-based Nextstar media group "released a poll saying 58.3 percent of Californians want someone other than Gavin Newsom to lead the state in 2022 … that’s a lot of Democrats and a lot of independents."

The same poll, however, showed a plurality of 42 percent would vote against recalling Newsom this year, while 38 percent would vote to remove him.

The Democratic group’s ad says the recall is fronted by "the same right-wing Republican politicians who supported Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the election, of course, paid for by the Republican National Committee." It urges voters to take action.

"Instead of helping fight the pandemic, national Republicans are coming to fight California," it says. "Add your name to help stop Republican recall. It’s a power grab."

A recall campaign will attract enormous sums of money, and that effort began to ramp up in earnest this week. The California Democratic Party on Monday channeled $250,000 into defending Newsom, and the governor sent donors his first appeal explicitly tied to the recall.

“I am not going to take this recall attempt lying down," his email said. "I’m going to fight because there’s too much at stake in this moment.”

Newsom has sidestepped questions on the recall for many weeks but began acknowledging the effort last week. He referred to "partisan political power grabs" in his State of the State address and then discussed the recall in a KQED interview.

On Monday, he addressed it for the first time on Twitter, signaling the start of an official effort to push back at the attempt.

“I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it,’’ he tweeted. “There is too much at stake. Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk."

Jeremy B. White contributed to this report.

Read more: politico.com

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