Republican Candidates Preparing to Run in California if Governor Newsom Gets Removed

California Governor Gavin Newsom by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California has been an absolute disaster. His approval isn’t just plummeting statewide, it’s even going down among his former liberal supporters.

The petition to get a recall vote on Newsom is gaining ground and close to being put on the ballot this year or next and those on the right see an opportunity.

If 1.5 million signatures can be collected by the middle of next month then the vote to remove Newsom will go to a vote this year. The count is currently at 1.3 million.

Republicans are preparing to run for office if Newsom ends up hitting the road, with former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer emerging as one of the early frontrunners.

‘Sacramento Can’t Do Basics’

Calling out Newsom’s hypocritical and weak leadership, Faulconer said it’s “time to be a voice for Californians who are suffering because Sacramento can’t do the basics” and promised “this campaign is going to be about restoring balance and common sense to California, to get people back to work, to get our kids back to school and to get people proud of our state again.”

If the petition can nab the necessary additional 200,000 votes then a special election later this year will ask them if they want to remove Newsom and who they’d like to see replace him.

Faulconer says he’s already got $1 million in available and promised campaign money and businessman John Cox says he also has plans to run for governor, despite losing to Newsom in the 2018 race for state governor.

Gavin Newsom by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mike Cernovich Plans to Run

Another notable conservative who plans to run is right-wing political commentator Mike Cernovich. Along with Cox and Faulconer, this makes for an already interesting line-up of conservative opponents of Newsom who can give the state the chance at some new conservative leadership instead of the progressive pablum it’s been getting served for years now.

Faulconer was Mayor of San Diego from 2014 to 2020 and helped bring down homelessness in the city. Despite California leaning left it does have large areas of the state and demographics which are more conservative, and Faulconer has been seen as someone with one of the best shots at winning higher office.

One of the main controversies dogging Faulconer at this point is his switch on Trump, who he claimed was “unacceptable” due to his rhetoric in 2016 but later admitted he voted for in 2020. This Ben Shapiro-move could turn off some moderate suburban independents and Republicans, but Faulconer still has a shot.

Cernovich is linked into national politics and the Trump movement at a high level and has a viral online following which would help him with fundraising and getting media and publicity due to controversy over some of his past statements and his provocative personality. Although he admitted he has “zero” chance to win the state, Cernovich hopes he could gain enough ground to get into a debate where he forces Newsom to answer questions on the harm his lockdowns have caused.

As for Cox, he said he’s running because Newsom has driven the state into the ground and needs to be removed for everyone’s good.

The state is in crisis. The last straw, as far as I’m concerned, is the failure in terms of vaccine distribution. This is unconscionable. It’s just one in a series of instances of mismanagement the politicians being led by Gavin Newsom have visited upon us, and it’s got to change,” Cox said. “And I’m just not sitting back and watching this. I’m going to actually do something about it.”

Newsom Reacts

Newsom, who was caught flaunting his own lockdown rules out at a party with donors and friends, knows that he is not popular. But he’s going to try to use the same playbook that Democrats have used since 2016 to try to get more support: “Trump bad.”

“All these Trump supporters will fight it out amongst themselves,” said Newsom spokesperson Dan Newman, adding that “for now we need them to stop inciting people to shut down our mass-vaccination sites, as they tried to do at Dodger Stadium over the weekend.”