Silicon Valley heavyweights like Eric Schmidt, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Reid Hoffman show support for California Gov. Newsom as he faces a ‘politically motivated’ recall election

gavin newsom eric schmidt
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
  • Dozens of tech leaders signed a letter opposing a Republican-led effort to recall California's governor.
  • Signees include Laurene Powell, angel investor Ron Conway, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.
  • The recall supporters want Newsom out over his pandemic-driven business closures and lockdowns.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dozens of the tech industry's top brass have signed a letter opposing a recall election effort designed to drive California Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office, per a report from Politico.

Signees of the letter include Laurene Powell Jobs - founder of Emerson Collective and the widow of Apple visionary Steve Jobs - ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. Angel investor Ron Conway led the effort to enlist the signed support of leaders in the tech sphere, per Politico.

Conway told Politico that the recall effort is "the last thing our state needs right now."

"The vast majority of people in the tech community agree: replacing Governor Newsom with a Trump Republican, which is what this recall effort is really all about, would reverse our progress against COVID and would be bad for California," Conway told Politico.

The letter, which was posted to Twitter by journalist Teddy Schleifer, addresses California residents and notes that the state has made strides in combatting the spread of COVID-19 as well as in distributing vaccines. The letter also asks residents to publicly oppose the "well-funded, politically motivated recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom" that threatens to impede upon that success.

As the outlet notes, the letter does not specify the matter of funding, but if it eventually comes to that, the industry leaders and their extensive wealth would likely hold influence.

Not everyone in the tech world has been in agreement regarding the recall attempt. Billionaire investor and early Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya supports the recall drive and has publicly voiced his support to "#RecallGavinNewsom." Rumors even swirled about Palihapitiya himself even running for governor, but the investor has since confirmed that is not a possibility.

The Republican-organized recall campaign kicked off in 2020 in response to California's housing and homelessness crises. But the effort was bolstered after last March due to Newsom's handling of pandemic-related business closures and lockdowns.

The initiative lays out a number of reasons for wanting Newsom out of office, including when the governor's large-group outing at a California restaurant was widely covered by news outlets, an outing that took place shortly after Newsom told residents to avoid social gatherings due to the pandemic. Many Republicans took issue with what they saw as hypocrisy in the governor's actions.

Newsom has since admitted that he made missteps in his handling of the pandemic but said the recall effort has more to do with politics than anything else. In mid-March, the governor announced a new Democratic-led committee called "Stop the Republican Recall" to push back on the effort.

If the recall campaign is successful, it could lead to a special election later this year.

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