San Francisco — Embattled Gov. Gray Davis tried to galvanize allies Saturday against an apparently inevitable recall election, casting the effort as a Republican power grab at a "unity rally" with other prominent California Democrats.
"They are trying to spend $60 million to have a special election to recall all the progress you and I have made in the last four and a half years," Davis told about 500 cheering supporters in this Democratic bastion. "This is not about changing governors but about changing the direction -- I'll go forward, they'll go backward."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was among the California Democrats showing support at the rally, which came days ahead of a key deadline that recall proponents hope will trigger a recall election this autumn.
Pelosi belittled the recall as "part of a national Republican agenda to achieve through the recall what they can't achieve in an election."
By Wednesday, counties must report how many valid signatures recall organizers have submitted -- and indications are they could well have gathered the 897,158 they need.
If the recall qualifies, an election would be held within 60 to 80 days -- making Davis the first California governor ever to face a recall ballot. Efforts by Davis allies to stop the recall in court have so far failed.