SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Monday that he's forming an exploratory committee for a potential bid to become California's next governor.
Faulconer's intention to run for governor may come as no surprise to many after he acknowledged the possibility to the Los Angeles Times back in November. Since then, he has been an outspoken critic against Gov. Gavin Newsom, criticizing Newsom's management of the coronavirus, homelessness, and other issues.
"I think that it's important that we all work together and, particularly, have the trust and ability of our leaders. And one of the things, unfortunately, I have been very outspoken, that's been lacking is the reliance on science," Faulconer told ABC 10News. "Everybody wants to do the right thing and we've encouraged that, but yet when we see things like outdoor dining is not allowed, no science to that, when we see the delay in safely reopening our schools.
"You see that frustration that has built, not just here in San Diego, but all across California."
Faulconer said he would draw on his experiences as mayor in San Diego to address challenges facing the state.
"We have some experience in San Diego of doing the right thing, the only county where homelessness has actually gone down over the last two years," Faulconer said. "While there were those across California that wanted to defund the police department, we didn't do that in San Diego for all of the right reasons."
"It's something I've given a lot of thought to and with a lot of encouragement, not just from San Diegans, but Californians up and down the state," Faulconer added.
Last weekend, Faulconer said he has signed a petition to recall Newsom. While previous attempts to recall the governor have faded, the current effort has gained momentum with many upset over the state's pandemic-related restrictions. The recall effort had received 911,000 signatures of the required 1,495,709 to qualify for the mid-March ballot, at last update.
"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," Faulconer's statement on social media said. "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."
Faulconer termed out as San Diego mayor this year, after holding the position for two terms. He was elected mayor in February 2014 in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by then-mayor Bob Filner. Filner resigned in August 2013 over accusations of sexual harassment.
Faulconer was previously on the San Diego City Council as District 2's councilmember from 2005 to 2013.
Political analyst John Dadian told ABC 10News back in November that a Faulconer bid to become governor will likely take him around the state to introduce himself to potential voters and will not be easy.
"The uphill is he’d have to pull in all the people that are neither democrat or republican, but it’s certainly possible," Dadian said. "What he’ll do now is get all around the state, let everybody know who he is. Then, when it’s an actual campaign, he’ll be raising money and he’ll be making very sharp hits on the current incumbent."