More than 2 million Californians have signed a petition to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Now Newsom says it's all part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.
"And let’s just call it what it is: it’s a partisan, Republican recall – backed by the RNC, anti-mask and anti-vax extremists, and pro-Trump forces that want to overturn the last election and have opposed much of what we have done to fight the pandemic," said the governor, referring to the Republican National Committee.
"If they are successful, it would mean risking the progress we are making to end the pandemic," Newsom wrote in an email to supporters. "We can’t let that happen."
He also said he will not take the recall effort against him "lying down" and urged his supporters to sign a different petition to oppose the "far-right Republican recall effort."
Randy Economy, a spokesman for the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign, told Fox News that the governor calling the effort part of an extremist movement was "pathetic."
"Gavin Newsom is resorting to political desperation. He now, finally, has accepted the fact that there will be a recall election being held this year to decide the direction of California and his political fate," Economy said. "For him to continue to label the people’s campaign as extremist is sad, pathetic and just goes to show how out of touch he really is."
The California GOP responded on Twitter.
"The highest poverty rate in the nation, the largest number of homeless, some of the highest gas prices, unemployment checks going to death row inmates, and up to $31 billion in unemployment fraud," wrote the California Republicans. "The recall is gaining momentum because of your failed leadership."
On Thursday, the movement to recall Newsom broke the 2 million signature mark. The movement needed 1.5 million signatures to get on the ballot, but there are often signatures invalidated.
The recall campaign – which even sells merchandise like coronavirus face shields emblazoned with the slogan – scored a big win when a superior court judge extended the signature deadline from Nov. 17 to March 17, 2021, accepting the argument the pandemic hurt efforts to circulate petitions.
The effort picked up steam in November when Newsom and his wife attended a birthday party with a dozen of friends at the expensive French Laundry restaurant in Napa, north of San Francisco. The governor said the dinner, for a lobbyist friend, was outdoors, but pictures told a different story.
Newsom eventually apologized.
"I made a bad mistake," he said. "I should have stood up and ... drove back to my house. The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach."
Adam Housley, a former Fox News correspondent, has claimed that the dinner was attended by 22 guests, not 12, who ran up a bar bill of over $15,000.
In July, Newsom ordered certain businesses across 19 counties to scale back their operations, including restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, card rooms and bars.
However, Newsom's own winery and tasting room in Napa Valley was allowed to stay open. Madera County wineries were exempt from the order because it was not one of those on the list.
Newsom also owns stock in PlumpJack Group, which includes a winery in Napa Valley's Oakville, FOX26-TV reported.