SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KGTV) — Standing in front of Cabrillo Elementary with a school bus next to him, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer wanted to highlight, what he describes as the ineffective leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom.
"The world used to look at California for a brighter future but now we can’t even keep the lights on. It’s become the land of broken promises and the promise-breaker in Chief is Gavin Newsom," said Faulconer.
Faulconer kicked off his campaign to become governor with a news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning. The former mayor's bid comes as the movement to recall Gov. Newsom moves forward, gaining steam amid the state's shifting coronavirus restrictions on businesses.
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Since leaving office in San Diego last year, Faulconer has gradually intensified his criticism of Newsom's actions in handling the coronavirus pandemic, homelessness in the state, taxes, and infrastructure. He announced in early January that he had signed on to the recall effort.
He then announced that he was forming an exploratory committee in a possible bid for governor, telling ABC 10News that, "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."
Organizers of the recall effort say they're close to gathering the 1.5 million signatures required to initiate a recall election. They say they have 1.3 million signatures. As of Jan. 6, the California Secretary of State’s website shows 410,087 valid signatures submitted. The effort has until March 17 to gather the needed signatures in order to possibly force a recall election as early as this summer.
Dan Newman, who represents Gov. Newsom, told ABC 10News this month that Faulconer was tapping into former President Trump's supporters, adding a special election would be a waste of tax dollars.
"The Trump train doesn't want to leave the station, but Kevin Faulconer is all aboard … Faulconer is joining other Trump supporters who want taxpayers to waste $100 million on a special election redo, mere months before a regularly scheduled election," said Newman.