The recall was conceived of and driven forward by Republicans, including frequent ballot measure activist Ted Costa, but it grew to become "an expression of frustration by an electorate fed up with dysfunction in Sacramento," California's state capital.
A total of 135 candidates were on the October 2003 ballot as replacement candidates should the voters choose to reject Davis.
The citizens of California are granted the authority to perform a recall election by Article 2, Sections 13-19 of the California Constitution.
The authority to conduct a recall election in California applies to officials at the state and local levels; as with most states, the right of recall in California does not extend to recalling federal politicians.
The October 2003 election stood out for many reasons, one of them being that in a state that normally votes in favor of Democratic candidates, Republicans on the replacement ballot garnered 54 percent of the total votes cast for replacement candidates.
Darrell Issa's financial support for a signature-gathering campaign to collect the necessary signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot was widely credited as the reason that recall supporters were able to collect the necessary amount of signatures to put the Davis recall on the ballot.
Recall elections exist in many US States for almost every kind of elected role.
The only exceptions to this are Members of Congress (both Senators and Representatives), the Vice President and President.
Fifty-five percent of them voted to turn Davis out of office.
The recall, which had its origins in how Davis handled a crisis in the state's electricity industry, was described as recently as December 2009 as the "one event [that] shaped California politics more than any other in this decade.