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California's Democratic governor can't list political party on recall ballot, judge rules

Gov. Gavin Newsom failed to identify his political affiliation by a filing deadline.

California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, cannot identify his political affiliation on the ballot during the coming recall election, a judge ruled Monday.

State Superior Court Judge James Arguellas denied Newsom's request that his party be listed on the ballot after he failed to identify his political preference by a filing deadline.

Attorneys for Newsom had argued that the failure was an error, but Arguellas said language in a 2019 law signed by Newsom "unambiguously" prohibits party information from appearing on recall ballots when an official "fails to timely make the designation."

Newsom had asked California's secretary of state to accept the designation after the deadline, but she refused. The recall vote is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Newsom's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening. A spokesman for Newsom's campaign told the Los Angeles Times that he will overcome the recall effort, which the spokesman described as a "Republican power grab."

"Across the state you see Democrats united behind Gov. Newsom," the spokesman said.

Newsom will become the second governor in state history to face a recall vote after proponents passed the 1.5 million signature threshold in June. Gov. Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 and replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Among Newsom's challengers are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer; Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympian and longtime Republican; and John Cox, a Republican businessman who lost to Newsom in 2018.

CORRECTION (July 12, 2021, 11:30 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of the governor of California. He is Gavin Newsom, not Gavon.