Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer launched an exploratory committee Monday to run for Governor on the Republican ticket.
Faulconer, who was on the San Diego City Council from 2006 to 2014, and was Mayor from 2014 until last month, has been looking into a Gubernatorial run since last year. The former Mayor had also been highly critical of Governor Gavin Newsom, most notably of his role in shutting down the state due to COVID-19 and having jobs leave the state en masse during his term.
“No better way to ring in the New Year than taking the first step in turning around California,” tweeted Faulconer in his announcement on Monday. “I’m excited to launch our gubernatorial exploratory committee.”
No better way to ring in the New Year than taking the first step in turning around California.
I’m excited to launch our gubernatorial exploratory committee.
I want you to be part of this California comeback. Join us at https://t.co/cj8jqTM4ji
More updates soon! pic.twitter.com/xw91llfSTC
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) January 4, 2021
Faulconer’s announcement also came shortly after he had announced that he had signed the recall petition against Newsom. In a Facebook post, Faulconer had noted similar reason’s to his Gubernatorial announcement. He also noted that California needed a new Governor, hinting a his Monday announcement.
“It’s a new year. We need a new governor,” posted Faulconer on Saturday. “I’m signing the petition to recall Gavin Newsom. Jobs are leaving, homelessness is skyrocketing, and the state can’t even do the basics like issue unemployment checks to people who at this very moment are struggling to get by. We know that California is better than this, and we have the power to make a change.
“Every Californian fed up with the governor’s hypocrisy and failures should sign the recall petition. Either through a recall or a regular election, it’s time to start holding the governor accountable.”
In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Faulconer also noted of his signing that “We have to protect lives, but we also have to protect livelihoods.”
A growing field of GOP candidates
Faulconer’s declaration makes him only the latest candidate to join the growing Republican Gubernatorial candidate field. Many candidates have either declared their run or announced an exploratory committee in recent months because of worsening conditions in California, high taxes repelling businesses and having people move out, anger over the state COVID-19 lockdown, and Governor Newsom himself facing a likely recall vote later this year.
As of Monday, other candidates who have either declared or announced an exploratory committee include 2018 GOP Governor candidate John Cox, 2020 Pasadena Mayoral candidate and Chair of the New California Governor Committee Major Williams, former Congressional candidate Errol Webber, and businessman Mike Grover Coltharp.
“Governor Newsom facing possible impeachment is accelerating a lot of candidates to throw their hat in the ring,” political opinion analytics director Frank Barker told the Globe. “Faulconer is the first to hold public office, and the GOP hasn’t had a candidate for Governor who had that kind of experience going in for a long time. It’s a definite edge.
“That’s not to say someone else won’t get it. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger won with only an acting background in 2003. And that was a recall race too. But, again, it gives him an edge. He’d also come in with name recognition, a big San Diego voting block, and something of a history of being against Newsom.”
“But this is California. Who knows, Kelsey Grammer or someone could go in like Schwarzenegger did and win on name recognition. For all GOP candidates this is a good thing though. It gives a more rounded field of people to choose from, makes all the other candidates be better by studying up more and, with a lot of debates, can really prepare them for Newsom if it is indeed in 2022 and not a recall in 2021.”
Other GOP candidates are likely to file in the coming months, especially if the recall campaign comes closer to the number of needed votes.
“Candidates coming in now like Faulconer are coming in on the ground floor both for 2022 and the possibility of a 2021 race. Either way it goes, Governor Newsom likely isn’t thrilled with such a GOP climb right now.”