Ballots are beginning to arrive in the mail proposing to recall California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and replace him with one of 46 governor hopefuls.
The candidates range from former (and one current) Republican elected officials to obscure folks reaching for the brass political ring. In between, are three high-profile media celebrities.
We recommend Californians vote YES on the recall. The most qualified candidate on the ballot to replace Newsom is moderate Republican and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. He has extensive elective and governing experience, as well as a reputation for working across the aisle.
The Democratic Party currently holds veto-proof supermajorities in both legislative houses. The Assembly consists of 60 Democrats and 19 Republicans, with one independent, while the Senate is composed of 30 Democrats and 9 Republicans, also with one vacancy.
The recall election, which is supported by the state’s Republican Party, reflects Californians’ frustration over the surging, deadly COVID-19 pandemic, and Newsom’s lockdown and mask-up policies.
And as wildfires consume California, housing prices and homelessness climb, the impacts of climate change reshape the state, and, especially in oil-dependent Kern County, the lid is being placed on fossil fuel production, dissatisfaction with the governor is increasing.
It will take more than 50 percent of the votes cast to remove Newsom from office. But if that threshold is crossed, it will take only a plurality — which is the most number of votes — for a candidate to become California’s next governor.
With 46 certified candidates appearing on the ballot, theoretically one could become California’s next governor with only a single digit plurality. Unlike traditional elections, there will be no runoff required to achieve a majority vote in this recall.
The party affiliations listed by the 46 candidates are 24 Republicans, 9 Democrats, 2 Green Party, 1 Libertarian and 10 no party preference.
Earlier this month, the state Republican Party abandoned its plan to endorse any Republican candidate vying to replace Newsom.
“We cannot afford to discourage voters who are passionate about a particular candidate, yet may not vote because their favored candidate didn’t receive the endorsement,” Republican National Committee members Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel explained.
With Newsom’s standing in recent polls slipping, recall advocates are counting on Democrats to be complacent and for more energized Republicans and disgruntled Californians to turn out and vote to oust Newsom.
Whatever your position is on recalling Newsom, it is critical that you also carefully consider who might replace him and vote for the candidate you believe can govern this diverse and sprawling state.
We understand why people want to toss this governor from office. We agree that Newsom can come off as an arrogant, Bay Area politician, who is out of touch with the Central Valley. But if he is replaced, the next governor should be better and more competent than the one we now have.
With his recent, late entry in the race, conservative Republican radio talk host Larry Elder jumped ahead of all other Republican candidates in polls and fundraising. His name recognition quickly propelled him ahead of the field of experienced Republican lawmakers and even a reality show celebrity on the ballot.
Elder is not the only “media star” on the ballot, who is gaining steam. Depending on the poll, 29-year-old Democrat Kevin Paffrath, whose YouTube financial channel “Meet Kevin” has more than 1.1 million subscribers, may be pulling ahead of all candidates.
Both Elder and Paffrath lack elective and governing experience.
Republican Kevin Faulconer, 54, is the most qualified candidate among the 46 on the recall ballot to replace Newsom. Born in San Jose, he grew up in Oxnard and graduated from San Diego State University, where he majored in political science and worked for former San Diego mayor and California Gov. Pete Wilson’s campaigns.
From 2006 to 2014, the fiscally conservative, moderate Republican overwhelmingly won elections in the increasingly Democratic city to serve on the San Diego City Council.
In 2014, Faulconer was elected San Diego’s mayor in a special election. In the later runoff in that special election, he was endorsed by San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, a Democrat who placed fourth in the first round of voting. Faulconer served as mayor until being termed out last year.
Republican Faulconer has proven his ability to work collaboratively with Democrats in handling the complex problems of California’s second largest city.
In this recall contest of the many that can be decided by just the few, Faulconer is the best choice.