Los Angeles — “Dennis Richter is for the workers,” said Latrice Mitchell. “I told my co-workers I’d rather vote for him than anybody else,” when asking them to sign the petition to put Richter, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor of California, on the ballot.
Mitchell works at Walmart in Torrance. She and Barbara Bowman worked together to get two dozen workers at the store to sign Richter’s petitions for the special recall election Sept. 14.
Another 27 customers heading into that store also signed up in the parking lot July 3.
Richter worked at the Torrance store before transferring to another area Walmart earlier this year.
“My co-workers really liked that a working person is running for office,” Bowman said. “Dennis was well known here and highly respected. Discussions about the campaign along with the distribution of campaign literature before and after work sparked a debate especially on how to fight rising prices and why our pay should go up when costs of goods, rents and the necessities of life increase.”
Some of these discussions, she said, included “how we can push back against the deteriorating working conditions in this store.”
The special election was required after nearly 2 million people signed petitions demanding Democratic Party Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled. Many were angry at the results of his lockdown orders. For months small businesses were devastated, students were kept at home and out of school and group worship was prevented.
Once the election was set after the certification of the recall petitions, the Democratic Party-dominated state legislature voted to change the rules so the election could be held as soon as possible. This was based on their judgment that Newsom’s approval ratings have increased.
‘Hunger for discussion’
The election date was announced July 1. The next morning petitions were available at county election offices. Only five days were allowed, including the July 4 holiday weekend, to collect 7,000 signatures to avoid paying the filing fee.
Otherwise candidates had to submit 65 to 100 signatures and pay a $4,194.94 filing fee. This is what Richter’s campaign has been organizing to do.
Campaign supporters in the Bay Area and Los Angeles hit the streets with petitions as soon as they were available.
Outside a busy supermarket here July 3, Richter and campaign supporter Josefina Otero collected 32 signatures. “Not everybody would sign,” Richter said. “What stood out to me is the hunger of working people to discuss a way to confront the problems they face.”
Richter is part of a national slate of SWP candidates who campaigned to build support for union strikes and other working-class struggles. They explain what can be done to build a movement to lead millions to take power from the exploiting capitalist class and establish a workers and farmers government.
Supporters of Richter’s campaign submitted 224 signatures to county officials July 6. The state has 48 hours to verify the results.