Gretchen's List: August 2021

Dear Friends,

I hope you’re all enjoying a well-vaccinated summer. My family and I recently returned from a National Parks road trip through Montana and Wyoming. My sons racked up junior ranger badges at four different parks, my daughter developed a deep affection for bison that is likely unprecedented in one-year-olds, my husband wore through a pair of boots and had to reattach the sole with electrical tape mid-hike (I did warn that the boots, discovered buried in the back of closet and of unknown age and origin, were likely a risky bet), and I got to sit down with a candidate for the new Montana congressional seat. We’re all doing what we love, and I hope you are, too.

It’s still summer, so this one is short. If you’re a California voter, please read on — it’s important, and it proves there are no “off years” in politics. (And if you’re not a California voter, please read on and share with anyone you know who is. The stakes are high for all of us.)



The California Gubernatorial Recall

I am becoming increasingly worried about the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom in California. It’s time for you to be worried, too.

The polls are very close — within three points — and many Californians do not even realize the recall is happening. These two points are especially concerning given that 1) for the last few cycles, polls have had small, consistent Democrat-leaning biases, and 2) the result will be entirely dependent on turnout. This race is very close, and needs a great deal more attention than it is getting.

Here are the details.

Beginning August 16, voters will be sent recall ballots. They can absentee vote via these ballots, or they can vote in person on September 14.

The ballot will include two questions: Should Governor Newsom be recalled? (NO.) Who should replace Governor Newsom? (NO VOTE.)

I think Governor Newsom is a good governor, but if you need a little more motivation, just think of this: Dianne Feinstein is 88 years old. She was born the same year as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the last woman in whose longevity all our hopes for democracy were vested. The California governor will appoint Feinstein's replacement if her seat is vacated before the end of her term. The US Senate is split evenly, and we had to work very, very hard for that. The entire balance of the federal government is at stake.

It’s easy to dismiss the recall, especially living in San Francisco. Really, is this state going to elect a Republican governor? The truth is that California has recalled a governor before. There are more Republicans than Democrats in elected office in the state of California. In 2020, 6 million Californians voted for Trump. There were twice as many Trump voters in Los Angeles as in the entire state of West Virginia. So, yes, it’s a real possibility.

Please help spread the word on this. The anti-recall effort is well-funded at the moment, so the most important thing is talk about this as much as possible. Post it on social media; send an email to your friends; text your neighbors; shared your “I voted” selfies. Let people know how important this election is. We fought so hard for our victories last November — let’s not have them utterly undermined because we aren’t paying attention now.

August and September Events

August 31, 5pm PT: Please join me for dinner in the Mission with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Catherine flipped this seat in 2016, and needs support holding on to it. Nevada is still a very purple state, and we can’t take anything for granted — especially when we’re trying to keep one of only three women of color in the Senate secure. This will be her first trip to the Bay Area this cycle, and I hope you’ll come meet her and learn about her race. This will be a smaller event, and a great opportunity for conversation with the Senator. Please RSVP and contribute here.

September 22, TBD: Please come meet Sarah Godlewski, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin at dinner in San Francisco. This race is one of our best opportunities to flip a Senate seat, and given her history of winning statewide office, I believe Sarah can get it done. She’s fifth-generation Wisconsinite, a small business owner, an Emerge Wisconsin alum, and the current state treasurer. She’s been endorsed by Emily’s List and leaders from all over the state. I admire her jumping into the race early and running a campaign to engage all Wisconsonites. Please RSVP and contribute here.

Donor, sociologist, researcher. Board member at WDN Action and Emerge America, and steering committee member at Electing Women Bay Area -- but all content here is mine alone and not on behalf of any organization or business. My goals are to help others find their networks and feel more comfortable and informed participating in the political giving space.

Currently reading: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe.