FOX 11 is hosting the first gubernatorial debate of the season Wednesday night at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. It is the first time Republican candidates will participate in a televised debate as voters work to decide whether to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The recall debate will provide a first-time look for many voters at a partial Republican field that hopes to see Newsom ousted from office in the Sept. 14 election.
Gubernatorial candidates John Cox, Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Kiley and Doug Ose have all confirmed their appearance. Invitations were extended to Larry Elder, Caitlyn Jenner, and Gavin Newsom, but they did not accept.
Jenner has been in Australia filming a reality TV program, while Elder will be at a Bakersfield fundraiser. His spokeswoman said Elder wants to debate Newsom and warned in a tweet that a "circular firing squad" among GOP candidates would only benefit the governor.
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Hugh Hewitt, president of the Richard Nixon Foundation, will moderate the debate along with former U.S. National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien and FOX 11’s own Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson.
CANDIDATES PARTICIPATING IN THE DEBATE
John Cox (R): John Cox is a businessman, accountant, and developer. He is a self-proclaimed anti-politician. Cox ran against Newsom in the 2018 election. His main focus is on fighting the homeless crisis in the state by providing unhoused residents with treatment. He also plans to lower the cost of housing. On his website it states, "[Cox] will rip up the corruption from the roots to pass the beastly changes California needs."
Kevin L. Faulconer (R): Kevin Faulconer is a businessman and former Mayor of San Diego. Faulconer plans to eliminate state income taxes for certain Californians and combat the state’s ongoing homeless crisis. According to his website, Faulconer says he is running for governor to restore California’s promise of liberty, equality, and opportunity. He says Newsom’s unscientific lockdowns have devastated small businesses and Californians ‘want a change’.
Kevin Kiley (R): Kevin Kiley was elected to the California State Assembly in 2016. The lawmaker from California’s 6th District even released a book earlier this year called ‘Recall Newsom’. According to CalMatters, as governor, Kiley would work to root out the influence of wealthy interest groups in the Capitol and consider calling a special session of the Legislature to focus on education reform or housing affordability. In terms of homelessness, Kiley says offering shelter isn't enough and the state must provide mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, job training.
Doug Ose (R): Doug Ose is a life-long resident of Sacramento, small business owner and former 3-term member of the United States Congress with deep agricultural ties. Ose is widely recognized for his role in negotiating a resolution to the energy crisis in the early 2000’s. 1. One of his main reasons for running for governor is to fix the homeless problem. His solutions include changing current state law to establish that individuals suffering from drug addiction and/or mental illness can be taken into protective custody, bring all 41 existing state homelessness programs under a single departmental authority and establish community care centers that can provide treatment for drug addiction and mental illness. With experience in the agriculture industry, Ose plans to build reservoirs north of the Sacramento River Delta and south of the Sacramento River Delta, as well as expand conveyance facilities and change regulations hindering water delivery.
Gov. Newsom's campaign responds:
Following Wednesday's debate, Governor Gavin Newsom's campaign team issued the following statement:
"Each of them tried to do their best Larry Elder impression - the closest thing we have to Trump here in California and the clear front runner in the race. All of them said they wouldn’t lift a finger to protect Californians against the Delta variant or even require health care workers to prove their vaccination status. That’s pretty outrageous." -Nathan Click, Newsom Campaign Spokesman
MORE ON THE RECALL ELECTION
The recall grew out of widespread frustration during the pandemic over whipsaw stay-at-home orders, crushing job losses from business closures and long-running school closures that together disrupted life for millions.
Voters will be asked two questions: First, should Newsom be removed, yes or no? The second question is a list of replacement candidates from which to choose.
With 46 replacement candidates on the ballot, it’s possible a winner could emerge with as little as 20% of the vote should Newsom be recalled — a fraction of what a candidate would need in a typical statewide election.
That unusual election math also has allowed Republicans to largely target their campaigns at Republicans and right-leaning independents, which could provide a sufficient coalition to win.