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Billionaire Venture Capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya (Photo: Twitter)

Billionaire VC Chamath Palihapitiya Announces Gubernatorial Run

With California’s recall election, who will be candidate for Governor?

By Evan Symon, January 27, 2021 5:30 pm

Social Capital CEO, Golden State Warriors board member Chamath Palihapitiya is banking on a successful recall of Governor Newsom. With a possible or even probable recall of Gavin Newsom happening this year, there are rumored replacement candidates, and a few confirmed.

On Tuesday, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya announced his run for Governor.

Palihapitiya, who is also the CEO of the VC firm Social Capital, announced the run following more high profile entrants such as former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 Republican candidate for Governor John Cox announcing exploratory committees in the last few months.

Unlike the other major candidates, who either held major public offices before or have run for them, Palihapitiya has yet to run for an election. Born in 1976 in Sri Lanka, Palihapitiya’s family moved to Canada in the 1980’s. After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Palihapitiya moved to California in 2000. Advancing quickly through the tech world, Palihapitiya became a Vice President at AOL in 2004. Within the next year he became one of the earliest employees at Facebook. In 2011 he left Facebook and started his own VC and took leadership roles in several companies, including becoming a board of director for Slack and the Golden State Warriors.

During this time he also made forays into politics, such as starting the FWD.us lobbying group that focused on immigration and education, as well as challenging many politicians over policies, such as former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee over housing and startup business issues. However, he has yet to run for an office, with a 2021/2 gubernatorial run being his first.

Palihapitiya is running for office both due to the growing effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom and because of many major Californian issues falling in-line with Palihapitiya’s political beliefs. His platform, released earlier this week, is a mix of fiscally conservative and socially liberal stances. He wants state tax to be reduced from 16% to 0%, but also favors student loan removal, $70,000 base salary for public school teachers, $2,000 given for each child born in California, and a focus on tech and environmental jobs.

However, despite his announcement, many political experts say that he has a long road ahead of him.

“Chamath Palihapitiya is an interesting candidate, but he’s going to be held back by several factors,” political opinion analytics director Frank Barker told the Globe. “First of all, he’s coming in as a Facebook venture capitalist. The GOP is trying to slide with someone with political experience and Democrats don’t want to touch people like that. ‘Silicon Valley billionaire’ is not exactly the most friendly title in California right now, not with so many people out of work and struggling. Those three words make him automatically out of touch for many.”

“He’s also missing out on both experience and political backing. Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown had years of elected experience, with Meg Whitman and John Cox being long-time political players and more conservative business leaders. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger had presidential appointments and won reelection based on his first term in ’06.”

“He also has the Bay Area tied to him. That’s not only associated with Gavin Newsom, but it’s where most of the California exodus is happening. Even LA and San Diego have bay area people still moving there because it’s somehow cheaper. That’s going to hurt him as anyone below Fresno right now is tiring of Bay Area politicians getting into higher offices in the state. Many above it too.”

“But he does have the money, he has some name recognition, and his immigrant background could help him out.

“A lot of people are banking on Newsom being recalled this year for a serious crack at the job, and Palihapitiya is among them. It will be interesting to see where this goes.”

Palihapitiya’s run is largely dependent on Newsom’s successful recall. As of Wednesday, over 1.2 million signatures have been submitted, more than 75% of the amount needed to trigger an election.

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9 thoughts on “Billionaire VC Chamath Palihapitiya Announces Gubernatorial Run

  1. Nope!
    We do not need a self described, fiscally conservative, socially liberal Governor. How would he fund his giveaways? Every person I have met who describes themselves in that fashion are really progressives. I do not know about you all but enough is enough! The guy just wants more HB1 visas for silicon valley.????

  2. I would like to hear more about his views on CA issues. Fiscal conservative and social liberal would get much support if done the right way. If another conservative is pitched against a liberal in CA, the liberal will win.

    1. Is student removal the same as loan forgivness? That is not fiscally conservative to me. It is a slap in the face to those who.paid back their loans or paid there own way. Income tax so high it drives the very high income away is shortsighted. But much better income tax than attacks on Prop 13. Prop 19 is going to cause the loss of family homes and especially long time family farm and ranches. It is an attack on agriculture property by real estate association members who shamelessly lied to get it to pass so they could make commissions from heartbroken families forced from multigenerational farms.

  3. California (and the United States) has suffered enough at the hands of “world improving” tech billionaires who, once in power, impose their various “-isms” on a dubious and/or gullible populace, and all whilst managing to shield themselves from the consequences of their ill considered mandates.

    -No income taxes? Great! But watch sales taxes go through the roof. And kiss Prop. 13 goodbye. And so on and so forth.

    -$2000 for each child born in California? Now watch the illegals flood in. And let’s not get into welfare baby-mommas looking for a mother’s day bonus check.

    -Student loan removal – does that mean cancellation of debt or getting rid of student loans altogether? Both? (Both would go a long way towards lowering tuition, currently inflating at aprox. 4 or 5 times the overall claimed national rate.)

    -A $70,000 starting salary for teachers? Great! I agree that you get what you pay for, and this might attract the best and brightest back into teaching. That said, does that also mean you get rid of the Unions and all of the assorted blue-haired nutters and disaffected minorities contained therein? And what about the “students” and “youths” who very simply are both not educable and highly disruptive , and in the old days would quickly have been expelled whilst holding the parents accountable? Do you get rid of them as well?

    -Tech and Environmental Jobs? I smell a PC boondoggle already. And jobs for whom exactly? For long term native born Americans, or for a flood of incompetent and low wage H1-Bs from South Asia with their purchased degrees and East of the Hajnal Line* sensibilities and cultural quirks?

    California is an old house with good bones that needs restoration, that needs somebody to strip away the years of neglect and incompetent patchwork so as to really fix some core problems. This guy is a utopian dreamer** who wants to cover over cracks in the plaster with pretty wallpaper so everybody will feel good, all the while ignoring that the floor is rotting under their collective feet. And despite what’s claimed, he’s sure as hell no Pat Brown, a progressive, who in the golden age California of the 50’s and early 60’s, made sure that things got done and that everybody, all classes, came out ahead whilst simultaneously maintaining high standards.

    Nope, he’s not the one. Just keep looking.

    Just a thought.


    *Look it up: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=HAJNAL+LINE&t=ffab&ia=web And, no, it’s not racism, but merely cultural bias. So don’t start!

    **The fact that he’s ex-Facebook is a red flag as well.

    1. VicB
      Thank you for taking the time to detail your viewpoint. I especially like the metaphor of the old house.!

      I would vote for you or someone with that mind set!

  4. Mr. Palihapitiya please “stay in your lane”. You are certainly have a brilliant mind for technology. I have worked in high tech for over 30 years and have worked with many people who are technically brilliant, yet have no understanding and actual contempt for average people working for a living. In my past experience, these brilliant people think of others as truly inferior and incapable of making decisions for the greater good of society. I trust most people are exercising their rights to freedom to purse happiness while accepting their obligations to society. These are great citizens as they are typically responsible, hard working, caring and strive to be independent. I suspect you want to engineer society “for the greater good”. You will oppress the individual for the good of the “collective”.

  5. Please give us someone other than an self-centered ambitious politician or a wealthy elitist. Why must it be too costly for someone real to run for office?? We need election reform badly. Using social media to campaign may not be a viable tool given the oppressive censorship by big tech.

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