Republican Announces California Gubernatorial Run as Newsom Recall Nears Threshold

February 2, 2021 Updated: February 2, 2021

A prominent California Republican on Feb. 1 announced his entry into the state’s gubernatorial race as a recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom nears the threshold to get on the ballot.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a campaign video that the state “has become the land of broken promises.”

“And it doesn’t have to be this way. We can clean up California, and it starts at the top,” he added.

“Gov. Newsom’s ruling class has failed us. They promised equality, but gave us some of the worst income inequality in the nation. They promised modern infrastructure. They can’t even keep the lights on. They promised prosperity, but created high costs, higher taxes, and killed jobs, all to protect powerful special interests. They promised compassion, but enable addiction and despair. They promised to fix failing schools, but put special interests ahead of kids every time.”

Faulconer, who left office last year due to term limits, said that his administration in San Diego helped cut waste, corruption, and incompetence.

Newsom, a Democrat in his first term, is facing criticism from within his party and from Republicans for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters. A recall effort has garnered 1.3 million signatures of the 1.5 million required to get on the ballot, and some Silicon Valley players recently voiced support.

Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2021. (Rich Pedroncelli/Pool/AP Photo)

Chamath Palihapitiya, a Democrat, announced last week that he’s running for governor. The CEO of the venture capital firm Social Capital and former Facebook executive said on his campaign website that California “is too expensive, our teachers are underpaid, and our schools aren’t good enough.”

Faulconer is known as a centrist Republican. He opposed former President Donald Trump’s candidacy and criticized a number of Trump’s policies, including the construction of a wall along the southern border.

Mike Cernovich, a conservative firebrand who supports Trump, also announced a gubernatorial bid on Feb. 1.

Cernovich said in a video stream that he can’t win the election but may be able to get “enough of a base of a support” to force Newsom to answer for his “human rights violations.”

He pointed to Newsom dining out while overseeing mandates that shut down dining in portions of California, and Newsom sending his children to private schools while many public schools have been closed.

A spokesman for Newsom has told news outlets that the recall campaign is a waste of money and that the governor would “rather focus on getting through the homestretch of the pandemic.”

State Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks claimed last month that the campaign is a “California coup” led by Republicans with “extremist” allies.

Samantha Corbin, a Democrat who lobbies the state government, said on Twitter she was “extremely disappointed and disturbed” by the language.

“Linking a legal & constitutionally appropriate CA recall attempt to the violent insurrection at the US Capitol & ongoing coup attempt is worse than a bad PR call. It’s irresponsible, will breed division & perpetuates ignorance, indifference regarding our constitutional rights,” she wrote.

Hicks later said he would choose his words more carefully. Newsom, when asked during a press briefing if he agreed with Hicks, declined to answer.

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