On Tuesday, former Congressman Doug Ose announced that he would be running as a gubernatorial recall candidate in 2021.
Ose’s entrance into the race makes him the third prominent Republican to enter the recall race following earlier run announcements by former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 GOP Gubernatorial candidate John Cox.
A Sacramento-area Republican, Ose graduated from UC Berkeley in 1977 and shortly afterwards became a real estate developer. Over the next two decades he became a multi-millionaire before deciding on a run for the 3rd district congressional seat in 1998. He won the Sacramento Valley seat with 52% of the vote, defending his seat for several more terms before opting out in 2005 due to a self-imposed term-limit. Since then he has continued to go into the political arena, most notably losing to Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) in the 2014 7th district election by less than 1% of the vote, and most recently briefly entering the 2018 gubernatorial race as a candidate before dropping out in February of that year.
However, Ose decided to give the Governorship another run on Tuesday, citing California’s slowness in coming back from the pandemic, the homelessness crisis, the unwillingness of both parties to work across party lines, as well as several issues and concerns surrounding embattled Governor Gavin Newsom.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ose specifically pointed out Newsom siding with teachers unions over reopening schools in the state as a factor in his decision to run.
“I’ve lived here my entire life, I’ve never seen it so screwed up,” said the former Congressman on Tuesday. “We need our schools open, we need our businesses open, we need to know where you can get a shot and people to go back to work. Californians are tired of having a governor whose operating themes are hypocrisy, self-interest, half-truths and mediocrity.
“Newsom sides with unions that close our schools while sending his own kids to private school. He dines in the state’s fanciest restaurants while telling everyone else to stay at home. He lives in a gated mansion while allowing the state’s homeless crisis to spin out of control. Enough is enough.”
Last year, Ose laid out additional concerns in an interview with the Globe, noting problems with water for agriculture and urban use, public education failures, roads and transportation issues, mental illness and drug abuse, the state’s regulatory framework, unaffordable healthcare, and several other issues currently hurting California.
Ose joins a growing field of GOP candidates
Ose’s entrance into the race also comes a day after Governor Newsom officially launched his political committee, Stop the Republican Recall, against the impending recall election, bringing in supporters ranging from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA). With the Governor now fully committed to stopping the recall after months of no action against the quickly growing recall petition campaign and Newsom’s committee trying to firmly tie the effort to those on the far right, the addition of Ose means that Republicans and others wishing to replace the Governor will have to firmly side with an opponent at some point later this year to avoid a fracturing of the Republican vote in case Democrats or a third party agree to one candidate in the event that Newsom is voted out.
Ose himself said on Tuesday that he “expects about 100 candidates on the recall ballot and about four or five to be reasonably credible.”
Other experts agreed with Ose.
“Back in the 2003 recall, there were a handful of credible candidates weighed against over a hundred others running for the hell of it,” Chicago-based political consultant William Riley told the Globe on Tuesday. “(Former Lt. Governor) Cruz Bustamante got about 32% of the votes from Democrats, (Congressman Tom) McClintock got 13% from more conservative Republicans, with (Arnold) Schwarzenegger grabbing those in the middle like moderate Republicans, disaffected Democrats, and people just voting for him because he was a huge actor. He got 49% that way.
“This time around we now have three known Republicans so far, and they aren’t consolidating down to two like in 2003. In fact, we’re going to see more, and we’re also going to see who the Democrats pick, because they will have somebody in line in the very least as a contingency. Probably someone they want to promote as a future big Democratic star in the state or as a possible replacement for (Senator Dianne) Feinstein.
“But the good news is is that Newsom is now scared. His political future is now in free-fall because being recalled isn’t exactly a good national story to have. He actually was a guest on The View today. You only go on national talk shows as a politician for a few reasons: You’re running for a national office, which he isn’t. You’re promoting a big expensive new program, which he doesn’t have. Or he’s in damage control mode. He even kept pointing out that French Laundry dinner and defending himself on it. If that’s not worry, I don’t know what is.”
“Ose running now actually helps the California GOP, because it gives them another good, experienced lawmaker to choose from and gives potential voters more say which way they want California to go. His 16 years out of a major office might hurt him, but he also hadn’t completely left the game either. Like everyone else currently in the race, let’s see what they can do from here.”
More 2021 recall election candidates are expected to announce campaigns soon following Newsom’s Committee announcement on Monday, as well as the recall petition’s announcement last week of collecting over 2 million signatures.