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Ex-San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is considering run for governor, signs petition to oust Newsom

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has signed a petition seeking to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.
(John Gastaldo / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Kevin Faulconer, former Republican mayor of San Diego, announced Saturday that he had signed a petition to recall Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Faulconer, who told the San Diego Union-Tribune last month that he is considering his own run for governor, served seven years as San Diego’s mayor.

Faulconer said on Facebook and Twitter that he signed the recall effort because jobs are leaving the state, homelessness has increased and the state unemployment office has had difficulty in issuing checks during the COVID-19 crisis.

Efforts to reach the governor’s office for comment Saturday were unsuccessful.

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“Every Californian fed up with the governor’s hypocrisy and failures should sign the recall petition,” Faulconer wrote. “Either through a recall or a regular election, it’s time to start holding the governor accountable.”

A survey released in December by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Newsom got mostly high marks for his handling of the economy over the last 12 months, despite protests over coronavirus-related shutdowns. It found that 55% of residents in San Diego and Orange counties approved of Newsom’s handling of the economy.

The San Francisco Bay Area (67%) and Los Angeles (65%) were most pleased with his performance. In other parts of the state such as the Inland Empire (52% ) and Central Valley (45%), however, approval of Newsom was lower.

Newsom was elected in 2018 with 62% of the vote, which was the largest share by a Democratic candidate for governor in state history.

The Newsom recall effort is the sixth such attempt since the governor took office.

Organizers must gather about 1.5 million signatures by March 17 for it to go to a statewide vote. According to a website set up for the recall effort, there are 911,000 signed petitions. Newsom will be up for reelection in 2022.

Political analysts have pointed to Faulconer’s recent criticism of the governor as a sign he is preparing talking points for his own gubernatorial run.

The last Republican governor of California was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served from 2003 to 2011. Only one Golden State governor has been recalled from office, Democrat Gray Davis in 2003.

Newsom has received criticism for the strict public health orders issued by California in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

He also faced a wave of disapproval for eating at a Napa Valley restaurant in early November with about a dozen friends, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” Newsom said in a statement.

Faulconer is not the only California politician to be critical of the governor. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who was sworn into Congress on Sunday to represent the 50th Congressional District, has appeared on Fox News to criticize Newsom’s handling of the pandemic.

Molnar writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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