Which candidates are in the running to replace Governor Newsom?
More than 40 contenders are competing to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom, but only a handful have a chance. Here’s a look at them...
Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall election on 14 September. When Californians vote, in addition to deciding the fate of their current governor, they will be asked who should replace him if a majority of voters choose to turf out Governor Newsom.
The candidate that gets a plurality of the vote, where they have more votes than the others but don't have to receive more than half the votes, would replace Governor Newsom. This was the case in 2003 when voters recalled then-Governor Gray Davis. He was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger who got just shy of 49 percent of the vote.
A colorful cast of candidates
There are 46 candidates from across the political spectrum that are vying to take over for Governor Newsom should he be recalled. The list includes three who have supported the QAnon conspiracy movement according to Media Matters For America, a left-leaning media watchdog.
Here are the candidates leading the pack in the California recall according to FiveThirtyEight:
Larry Elder - Republican
Currently in pole position to replace Governor Newsom is conservative radio talk show host and former attorney Larry Elder. He joined the race late but upended the race shooting to the top of the polls at the expense of the previous frontrunner and fellow Republican candidate John Cox. Were he to become Governor Newsoms successor he would be California’s first black governor.
The current governor has called Elder the “most Trump” of the Republican candidates. His fellow Republican candidates have called for Elder to drop out of the campaign in light of allegations of domestic abuse, which he has denied, and over disparaging remarks he has made about women.
Some of his proposals, if Elder were to become governor, would be to suspend the California Environmental Quality Act, declare a homeless emergency and a state of emergency for California’s public schools. He is in favor of dropping the minimum wage and overturning Roe v. Wade. Like his fellow Republican candidates, he would repeal the state’s covid-19 mask and vaccine mandates.
Kevin Paffrath - Democrat
Despite the Democrat party trying to focus voters on going against the recall effort and leaving the question of who Governor Newsom’s replacement should be, Kevin Paffrath is running as a Democrat but is a self-declared centrist. He is a real estate broker who hosts a YouTube channel with a following of 1.7 million subscribers.
Some of his ideas for what he would do if he became governor include building a 14-foot diameter pipeline from the Mississippi River to California to help solve the state’s water shortage problem. He would seek to solve homelessness within the first 60 of taking office, as well as declaring a housing emergency to streamline the permit process to get two million homes built within four years.
John Cox – Republican
Once the frontrunner, John Cox is just slightly above the rest of the pack. Cox, who was the 2018 Republican candidate in the gubernatorial race losing to Governor Newsom. He is a San Diego businessman who has made several failed attempts to gain political office. In the recall election race, he has been most noticeable for his theatrics along the campaign trail.
Cox started his campaign touring the state with a 1,000-pound live Kodiak bear to gain name recognition. He has also used an 8-foot ball of trash to represent the state’s homelessness problem and a 12-by-12 foot "Gavinopoly" game board to promote his tax plan. During a recall debate he was served with a court order to pay nearly $100,000 in fees to an agency that worked on his 2018 run for governor.
As governor he would try to tackle the homelessness problem and make housing more affordable. He would also lower the state’s income tax and the cost of energy while making supply more reliable. Additionally, he would do away with the state’s mask and vaccine mandates imposed by Governor Newsom.