Fri. Mar 5th, 2021

Sacramento, California. (Reuters) – Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulkner, a Republican with a reputation as a liberal, announced his bid for California governor on Monday, challenging Democrat Gavin Newsome, whose reaction to the coronovirus epidemic was criticized by members Has been. Of both parties.

Faulkner, 54, who was first elected mayor of San Diego in a special election in 2014 and then won a full term in 2016, is one of the few politicians elected in this dark blue state. Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco and former lieutenant governor, is seeking a second term in the 2022 election in the nation’s most populous state.

Faulkner announced his candidacy on his website, stating, “Our schools are failing, homeless skyrocketing, small businesses closing down and jobs disappearing,” Gavin Newsom said. “Their broken promises have become our problem.”

Newsom is currently the subject of a recall effort, subject to receiving 1.5 million signatures by March 17 to call a special election. If recalled, which is considered a long-shot, if it succeeds, Faulkner will jump into the special election, spokesman Matt Shupe told Reuters.

Faulkner’s chances against Newsom are certain.

Rafael Sonnesin, who heads the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, said he would have to garner the support of independents and Democrats in a state where Republicans have less than a quarter of registered voters.

Already, Newsom’s camp is making a point of highlighting Faulkner’s support for former President Donald Trump.

Newspaper spokesman Dan Newman told Reuters, “While Faulkner and other Trump supporters compete in the Republican primaries, we will focus on distributing the vaccine and relieving families and the families and small businesses suffering from the virus. “

If the conservative-led effort to recall Newsom was successful, it would present a number of wildcards, including some that could benefit Faulkner, Sonsein said. But it is likely that the situation in California will improve as long as such competition is scheduled several months from now – if the effort does at all.

Furthermore, if Faulkner’s balancing act between liberals and Trump supporter could be more complex if more conservative candidates were involved, a recall could be a thrill for those hoping to replace Newsome, Sonshen said. .

In a recall, the people of California first vote to recall a politician and then choose their top replacement. In 2003, when voters recalled Democrat Gray Davis, the list of possible replacements included 135 candidates. Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger took the most votes, lasting two terms.

Before the Trump years, Faulkner, who was prevented from term limits by seeking another term as mayor of San Diego, had a reputation as a liberal Republican state where the party had already gone too far. He opposed Trump’s candidacy in 2016, but later met him and told the Los Angeles Times in December that he had voted for Trump in 2020.

Faulkner has hired at least a few advisors close to the party’s conservative base and in recent days lambasted Newsom at conservative news outlets including One America News Network.

The recall effort was launched before the pandemic closed and includes images on its website calling for illegal immigrants, sanctuary policies, higher taxes and the cessation of health care for gun control.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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