Republicans in California are announcing their intentions to run for governor should the recall effort against Democrat Gavin Newsom succeed. The Los Angeles Times reports that businessman John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and registered independent Mike Cernovich all intend to challenge Newsom. Cox, who lost to Newsom in the 2018 gubernatorial race, cited the Democrat governor’s failed leadership as reason to step in saying, “The state is in crisis.” Faulconer, former mayor of San Diego and whom the Times describes as “the most prominent challengers to Democrat Newsom,” has already raised roughly $1 million for the cause. “It’s time to restore balance and common sense to California,” he said. “People don’t really care about partisanship right now,” added Faulconer. “What people care about is leadership and somebody who is going to fix things and get results.” NEW: Former Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer announces he’s running for governor of California. — Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) February 2, 2021   Republicans Looking to Take on Newsom If Recall Succeeds Cernovich acknowledged his chances of winning a recall race were remote, but declared he had a different goal in mind. In a Periscope video announcing his bid, Cernovich provided criticism of Newsom one could expect from a “provocateur.” “There’s a zero percent chance I could win the election,” he said. “I have no delusion about that, but if I can get enough of a base of support I can force [Newsom] … to answer for his war crimes, his human rights violations.” There are now 1,350,000 validated signatures to put @GavinNewsom’s Recall question on the ballot. Just 150,000 to go before March 15. We are close! If you live in California and are registered to vote, sign the petition! @recallgavin2020 — Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 30, 2021   The recall petition for Newsom must receive 1.5 million verified signatures by March 17th, a number well within reach. The petition accuses Newsom of favoring “foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens,” and mentions California currently suffers with the “highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates, and the lowest quality of life as a result.” California’s Newsom is losing voter support amid struggles to contain the pandemic, with just 46% approving of his performance, down from 60% just four months ago. ⁦@philwillon⁩ ⁦@TarynLuna⁩ — Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) February 2, 2021   Newsom’s Approval Tanking Gavin Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic may be what is truly driving the effort to recall him. Newsom has been accused of moving too slowly in reopening businesses after California crushed the curve in the spring of 2020. He was widely viewed as a hypocrite for failing to follow his own lockdown rules, attending a maskless indoor dinner at a restaurant known as The French Laundry with roughly 22 people. EXCLUSIVE: We’ve obtained photos of Governor Gavin Newsom at the Napa dinner party he’s in hot water over. The photos call into question just how outdoors the dinner was. A witness who took photos tells us his group was so loud, the sliding doors had to be closed. 10pm on @FOXLA — Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 18, 2020   Fox News cites a Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies survey of over 10,000 registered voters in California in reporting that only “46 percent approve of Newsom’s job performance – a sharp decline from the 64 percent approval rating he held last September.” Cox railed against Newsom’s failures in vaccine distribution and said it was “the last straw” in drawing him into the race. “I’m just not sitting back and watching this,” he said. “I’m going to actually do something about it.” Read more at the Political Insider

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