With a possible or even probable recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom happening this year, there are rumored replacement candidates, and a few confirmed.
With an earlier than ever need for the CAGOP to find a solid candidate for Governor, the Globe takes a look at current candidates, candidates who have formed committees, candidates who are heavily rumored, and a few speculative picks of possible candidates who have the right stuff to win in 2021… or 2022.
This is the fourth article in a series identifying, familiarizing and analyzing potential and named candidates for California Governor. The first article is here: Kevin Faulconer. The second article is here: John Cox. The third article is here: John Moorlach. And this article about Billionaire VC Chamath Palihapitiya Announces Gubernatorial Run.
Rep. Tom McClintock
Previous experience: Assemblyman 1982-1992/1996-2000, State Senator 2000-2008, Congressman (R-CA) 2009-present, GOP Governor Candidate 2003 Recall of Gov. Gray Davis.
Congressman Tom McClintock has yet to confirm yes or no on running for California Governor, but because of his gubernatorial run in the 2003 recall election of then-Gov. Gray Davis, his name is worth mentioning as a serious possibility. McClintock supporters have never given up on a possible McClintock governorship.
During his years in the California Assembly and Senate, McClintock proved himself a solid Conservative, garnering the support of law enforcement, farmers, and surprisingly, marijuana legalization advocates, the latter group following him to his Congressional tenure.
Since his first election to public office in 1982, Tom McClintock has always been involved in the budget – while in state public office, as well as the federal budget in Congress. More recently, he has observed Gov. Gavin Newsom try to blame the state’s sputtering economy and high unemployment on the coronavirus. “COVID did not destroy the economy,” he said. “Decisions to lockdown states did.”
During his campaign for Governor during the 2003 recall election, McClintock was one of the early leaders, riding high off a new wave of Republican support with many Californians fed up with the policies of then-Governor Gray Davis. Even after celebrity candidates Larry Flynt, Gary Coleman, former MLB Commissioner Peter Uebberoth, Arianna Huffington, and other politicians joined in the race, McClintock was a strong probable winner over then-Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante (D), right up until Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy.
McClintock stayed in the race and, despite the split Republican vote, still came in a strong third place with over 1 million votes. While younger voters may not remember him from that unique election, his steady political career could turn some heads his way if he ran for Governor again.
Some of his more conservative votes, such as opposing gay marriage and opposing impeachment, may prove challenging when trying to entice frustrated Democrats, moderate Republicans, and Independent voters. However, McClintock is also pragmatic and somewhat libertarian, with his support for marijuana legalization to safely regulate and tax it. And his consistent message that “Freedom Works” resonates throughout the state.
McClintock has become a land use, water and wildfire expert, critical issues in California, which he has solutions for.
His outspoken opposition to Gov. Newsom’s policy decisions and statewide lockdown, such as when he spoke before Congress through his facemask that said, “This mask is as useless as our Governor,” also show an affable streak, a trait that Newsom is missing.
The Globe asked McClintock in November whether there would be another “stimulus” bill passed, and if so, the ramifications:
“The federal government does not finance the economy – it’s the other way around,” he said, noting that it is taxpayers who fund the government. He was critical of the federal deal providing everyone in America a $1,200 check. “Because we put it together in a panic, everybody got a $1,200 check, whether they were laid off or not,” he said.
“The lockdowns created a severe liquidity process, which turned into a capital crisis, and forced liquidation of assets,” he said. “And the large unemployment payments incentivized people not to work.”
McClintock said a more rational approach that would not have thrust the federal government into even more debt would have been student loan payment deferrals, payroll tax holidays for families impacted, conditioned on a later adjustment in Social Security retirement, and low or no interest loans to businesses during the crisis.
“These policies would not have added to the debt,” he said.
McClintock could give former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer a run for his money, as many in the state call Faulconer a RINO. This also could be the perfect time for McClintock to take another shot at running for Governor, with his well-rounded experience in the State Assembly and Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives.
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