Home>Articles>First California Recall Debate Announced For August 4th at Richard Nixon Library

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (Photo: Richard Nixon Foundation)

First California Recall Debate Announced For August 4th at Richard Nixon Library

Cox, Elder, Faulconer, Kiley, Ose to attend, Jenner declines, Newsom does not respond to invite

By Evan Symon, July 24, 2021 2:15 am

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in the Orange County city of Yorba Linda was chosen to host the first Governor recall debate on Friday.

Organized by the Richard Nixon Foundation, the debate will take place on August 4th starting at 6 PM and lasting for 90 minutes. Hugh Hewitt, the president of the Richard Nixon Foundation, will moderate the debate. Hewitt and the debate panelists, KTTV news anchors Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson, and former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, will not be sharing questions for candidates before the debate.

Five of the recall candidates will attend the debate, all of whom have been at the top of recent polls. 2018 GOP Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, radio host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin), and former Congressman Doug Ose are set to attend after accepting invitations.

Invites were also sent to another candidate, former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, as well as to Governor Gavin Newsom. However, due to filming commitments in Australia, Jenner declined the invite while Governor Newsom did not respond to the request. Besides Newsom, all other invites had been sent to Republicans largely due to the Democratic Party  focusing on keeping Newsom in office and not producing a Democratic candidate in the recall.

“The debate participants were chosen by applying the Richard Nixon Foundation’s proprietary internal metrics that the Foundation has used to select speakers and debate participants at the Nixon Library for more than 30 years,” said the Foundation in the release.

While no topics were announced on Friday, the August 4th debate will likely cover after-policies of the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness, housing issues, state drought, wildfires, and other current issues challenging California today.

“A lot of these guys have not had a lot of media attention, at least compared to the 2003 recall,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Friday. “Elder has had constant radio experience, and Kiley has been active in politics. But Faulconer, less than a year after leaving the San Diego Mayorship, and Cox, 3 years removed from the 2018 Governor’s race, have been only active in giving speeches. And then there is Ose, who has only been even more removed, also only giving speeches. It will be an interesting debate.”

“You can see why Newsom isn’t going though. He’s turned down debates before one-on-one with candidates saying that he would rather do his job as Governor, but if he goes, everyone will gang up on him most likely. But if he slips farther into the polls as August wears on, he may do a final debate somewhere like Carter did to Reagan during the 1980 election.”

“But right now, it’s those 5, and all have significant support. Again, it will be interesting to see where the chips fall after it.”

A second debate in Yorba Linda, tentatively scheduled for August 22nd, was also announced, with the same 6 candidates and Newsom being invited to that one as well. Another debate not held by the Nixon Foundation is also likely between late July and early September.

The recall election is due to be held on September 14th, with mail-in ballots starting to go out a month before.

[UPDATE: Elder’s team announced on July 24th that he would not make the debate due to a pre-existing commitment to a fundraiser in Bakersfield with Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield).]

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22 thoughts on “First California Recall Debate Announced For August 4th at Richard Nixon Library

  1. Should be a good event. I like the way the debate is set up and the moderators. Since Hewitt is a conservative talk show host like Elder, he will probably do his best to be impartial; not wanting to make it appear that he is favoring his colleague Larry. It won’t be like the 2020 “debates” between Biden and Trump, that’s for sure.

  2. Of course, Newsom doesn’t want to play. He is still pouting that Aunt Nancy couldn’t stop the recall. I would love it he showed up. I truly think he is scared to debate these candidates. Especially, Kiley. Kiley is a pit bull when it comes to standing up to Newsom. Kind of like Paul Rand and Fauci.

    1. Newsom can’t attend because he has a prior-commitment dinner engagement at some fancy restaurant somewhere.

    2. Stacy, if you remember 2018 Newsom avoided the first two debates. When he did the third debate John Cox and Travis Allen mopped the floor with him. And with an impartial moderator and no Lester Holt and no Anderson Cooper I seriously doubt he will be at any of the debates. The people would truly see him for what he is.

      1. I remember that John. It sure would be fun to see another good mopping. Especially these days since we don’t get to see him squirm with difficult questions from the press. What do you think the general public will think if he doesn’t show up?

    1. Sorry, Penny. Not a fan of Steve Bannon. Also, hope that Larry will distance himself from Steve since he and Bannon were close at one time.

  3. Hmm.. Less polling locations, more days to count ballots (Powers that be had grand designs for him, will they cheat with all eyes on them?) Did they ever have a “Moral compass?!”
    Still think they may “Resign him” if it looks dire, and replace with Lt. Gov Eleni Kounalakis to fulfill their agenda.

    1. Anything is possible, Marilyn. But, Aunt Pelosi throwing Nephew Gavin under the bus? I wonder if it would ever get to looking that bad for him; to be forced to resign. Democrats have rolled the dice by not putting an alternative candidate (Kounalakis) on the ballot and gone all in for Gavin.

  4. I am sorry to hear Mr. Elder will not be able to attend.
    I look forward to watching it.
    If you all are interested Kevin Kiley spoke in San Francisco this morning and is well worth a watch. Sorry the only video I can find is on Facebook. Scroll down to videos and you can watch the rally.

    1. Kiley is quite a good speaker. I can tell he’s had lots of practice on the floor of the Assembly. I expect Kevin to do quite well in the debate. What’s this about Larry Elder?

  5. Jeff Hewitt needs to be in the debate. He’s a Riverside County Supervisor and the sole libertarian candidate (the Party showed real discipline here). Riverside county has 2.6 Million people.

    1. Tom, it’s not clear to me how they selected the candidates. The Nixon Library says that they used their own “algorithm” whatever that is; poll results or whatever. Ose got in somehow and I don’t know him from Hewitt so you have a point.

      1. ….and the fact that Newsom and Jenner declined says that those 2 slots could be filled by other candidates. My opinion is that more is better than fewer and Hewitt seems like a good choice from what you say, Tom.

  6. Jenner is definitely not serious, prioritizing a tv show over becoming governor. And Larry Elder with a “previous commitment”? Seriously? An unnamed commitment is more important than 1 of maybe 2 or 3 debates max. Larry won’t get my vote. I’m leaning Kiley anyway.

    As for Newsom, he’s a coward, not surprised he won’t respond.

  7. I see that Larry Elder’s campaign director is calling the debate a “circular firing squad” of Republicans. I thought it was to see which of the candidates had the best qualifications for governor to replace Newsom? Clearly, Larry sees himself as the “winner by popular demand” or something like that. Or it could be a tactical move since he would risk a drop in support if he did not perform as well as expected in the debate. Although, he is a strong debater. I’m sure he would have participated if Newsom was going to be there. He’s challenging Newsom to a one-on-one debate but that will never happen. I think this move will hurt Larry and diminish his public acceptability among supporters of the other candidates and the undecided. This puts him there with Jenner who also skipped out:

    1. Elder was on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Friday and telegraphed that he wasn’t interested in the debate. Paraphrasing, he said all the candidates agree on homeless, housing, and crime, the focus needed to be on Newsom, not (for example) Faulconer elevating himself by tearing down Cox (the circular firing squad you mentioned). He’s right, and I think it’s a smart move. Larry’s absence mainly hurts the endlessly self-promoting Hugh Hewitt, a lot fewer people will see his mug on TV, if the debate still happens.

  8. We urge you to invite Anthony Trimino to this debate. With Jenner not attending Trimino can fill that seat.

  9. #RecallGavinNewsom #WeveGotAStateToSave #thewalkingfallen
    Shame on them for not including David Lozano in the Ronald Reagan Library debate!!
    The largest ethnic population in California is Hispanic Latino. The historic California Governor Recall Election will be held September 14th, 2021. Vote “YES” question #1.. Brown Lives will matter. DAVID LOZANO will be the next Governor of California.
    Help make California a better place that once again we can all be proud of.. https://www.facebook.com/100001271598266/posts/4418251234893886/?d=n

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