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July 18, 2003

Avoiding the Post-Recall Election

Anyone notice that California has a lieutenant governor, who takes office if the governor leaves office?

Apparently, the lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante has, and a provision in the California Constitution could be interpreted to mean that a successful recall vote of the governor just puts the lieutenant governor into office.

Makes sense, since if recall is like an electoral impeachment, then the analogy is that when a President is impeached, you don't hold another election, you just have the vice-president take office.

The key phrase in the California constitution is that after a recall vote is held, an election for a successor happens only "if appropriate." Such an election is obviously appropriate for offices where there is no second in command, but does seem inappropriate in this case.

Oh, and who decides whether to call the second election in case of recall? The lt. governor, Cruz Bustamante.

Imagine how pissed the rightwing will be if all their money and effort goes to putting the first latino in the governorship of the largest state in the country. Hell, it could suddenly make Bustamante a viable candidate for vice-president, a nice nightmare scenario for the GOP worried about courting latinos.

Constitutional crises are fun for the infinite possibilities they throw up.

Posted by Nathan at July 18, 2003 04:15 PM