SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Within the next few weeks, the Secretary of State is expected to announce if an effort to recall the governor has enough valid signatures. 

Both sides of the effort to recall Gavin Newsom gathered Wednesday for a discussion on the issue.

Should Governor Newsom’s recall qualify for the ballot later this year, expect more of this over the next several months.

“I feel like I’m debating Donald Trump,” Ace Smith, Chief Strategist for Gavin Newsom, said.

“And I feel like I’m debating Bernie Sanders,” Anne Dunsmore, Recall Organizer, said.

Gavin Newsom’s Chief Strategist Ace Smith participated in Wednesdays inside the recall event hosted by the Sacramento Press Club. He says the recall is a Republican attempt to gain power in California. 

“It will be a national debate about which is the direction California should go in. Is it one where we actually care about people and taking care of them or do we go toward the division and hate we saw in the Trump years?” Smith said.

Anne Dunsmore representing the other side — She helps raise money for the recall effort with her organization Rescue California and says the governor’s pandemic-related policies pushed millions to this point. 

“Governor Newsom has to answer to the people of California. Good luck if you want to keep going on and on about that if you want to keep going on and on about that because you’re talking to a universe of people that are not all Q’Anon, they’re not all Trumpers, they’re not all 3 percenters,” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore worked on the 2003 recall against Governor Gray Davis, which some likened to a circus, inviting celebrities like eventual Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to jump in the race. 

Smith was asked if there are any celebrities or other potential candidates that might worry team Newsom. 

“We’re not really worried at all because we’re going to beat the recall,” Smith said.  

As Newsom’s administrations plans for a full reopening for the state June 15th, both sides were asked how the campaign might be affected if coronavirus restrictions have to be imposed between now and the likely election: 

“He’s not afraid of anything, he will do what’s right,” Smith said.

“This isn’t just about covid, it’s going to be about more rolling blackouts, mismanaging the power grid, wildfires, joblessness, homelessness, and all the things that started this in the first place,” Dunsmore said.  

Although the final petition signature count has yet to be released, a campaign to remove signatures from the recall petition is underway.

State law provides a month for opponents to do so, neither side wednesday would say how effective that campaign will be.