Former San Diego mayor launches committee to run for governor

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, launched an exploratory committee to run for governor and is supporting the recall of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

On Twitter, Faulconer on Monday wrote: "No better way to ring in the New Year than taking the first step in turning around California. I’m excited to launch our gubernatorial exploratory committee. I want you to be part of this California comeback. Join us at More updates soon!"

Only one California governor has ever been successfully recalled, Gray Davis in 2003. 

Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio says there are many differences from 2003, but one similarity is voters’ expectation that the governor should lead and with a crisis.

"This governor has been criticized for trying to do too many things at once," said Maviglio.  "He needs to pick handful of issues that are most important to Californians now, that he has control over and focus on solving them."

Several political experts have called the latest effort a longshot; in part, due to a lack of financial backing and Newsom’s popularity.  

A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute shows 58% of people surveyed approve of his handling of the economy during the pandemic. Still, Sonoma State political science professor David McCuan says there’s a bigger picture here. "It’s about sending a message to incumbents, particularly democratic incumbents, in the post-Trump era, that republicans aren’t going away, they’re going to continue to push," said McCuan.

As the governor battles ongoing crises, he shook his senior staff, including adding lobbyist and veteran advisor Jim DeBoo. A sign, McCuan believes, that they’re taking this seriously. "It’s a strategic signal that they have the capability to ramp up that they won’t wait until it’s too late like Gray Davis and Gray Davis’ team."

Organizers have until March 17 to collect the required number of signatures to trigger a recall election.