Former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer on push to recall Gov. Newsom: Californians deserve better

"People understand the urgency, that we need a change now…Californians deserve better."

As calls to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom grow louder, former San Diego Mayor and potential gubernatorial candidate Kevin Faulconer spoke with FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson about the need for change in California.

"When we look at what the Governor is not doing, the frustration, the anger, the disappointment, that’s across the spectrum, we have Republicans, Democrats, Independents, families, all over California that understand this state needs a change at the top," said Faulconer, who has formed his own gubernatorial exploratory committee.

A lifelong Californian, who served as San Diego’s Republican Mayor from 2014 to 2020, Faulconer pointed to failures on homelessness, unemployment, and COVID-19, as reasons why Newsom should be ousted.

"When we look at so many of the failures that have happened, particularly, obviously, on COVID-19, the fact that we are one of the worst states in the nation in terms of getting vaccines out - the people that need them the most are first responders, those over 65, our health-care workers - to see that California is on the bottom of that list, we should be on the top, we’re the most innovative state in the nation," Faulconer said.

Efforts to ramp up vaccine distribution are being made, including the launching on Friday of a vaccination site at Dodger Stadium, but as of this week, according to Bloomberg, California has administered just 30% of the 3.5 million doses shipped to the state, ranking above only Alabama in terms of distribution.

Faulconer’s criticism of Newsom’s pandemic response did not end there, as the former Mayor also criticized what he called the "moving of the goalposts of COVID-19 regulations."

"We need to save lives, and we need to save livelihoods," Faulconer said. "When we have small businesses that have been opened and closed, sometimes four different times during this, that tells you the strategy and the plan aren’t working… and when we see the fact that private schools are up-and-running with in-person instruction, and yet our public school system is not, that’s inexcusable."

As it stands, the recall effort has amassed roughly 1.1 million of the needed 1,495,709 signatures. Organizers have until March 17 to collect the necessary amount to get the recall on the ballot.

Since 1913, 54 attempts have been made to recall California’s Governor, only one effort garnered enough signatures, in 2003, when Governor Gray Davis was ultimately voted out of office.

Still, this week, California Democrats began to take the threat of a recall seriously, Rusty Hicks, the state’s Democratic Party Chair, linking the efforts to the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

"Donald Trump and California Republicans who encouraged the attacks on our US Constitution… are also engaged in the recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom," Hicks said during a press conference. "This recall effort… really ought to be called the California Coup."

Faulconer pushed back against that claim.

"To say this is a 'coup' is a slap in the face to literally over a million Californians," Faulconer said. "This is a Democratic process, this is a process being driven by frustrated Californians who want a change, who realize we need to make a difference."

In a wide-ranging interview on The Issue Is, Faulconer also discussed his gubernatorial exploratory committee, his work as San Diego Mayor to address homelessness, and his relationship with President Donald Trump.

The Issue Is is California's only statewide political show. Watch FOX 11 Los Angeles Fridays at 10:30 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m. For more showtimes and information, go to

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