Another Challenger Jumps into Newsom Recall Race

CAL MATTERS-Ten days. That’s how much time Californians who want to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom have to declare their candidacy in the quickly approaching recall election.

On Tuesday, Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (photo above) became the latest challenger to officially throw his hat into the ring — about a month after the Rocklin Republican first announced he was exploring a run for governor. Kiley — who emerged as one of Newsom’s chief antagonists amid the pandemic — will likely join former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer as one of the more serious candidates in a race that currently includes at least 55 potential contenders, many of whom are random citizens.  

Kiley, who’s endorsed by lead recall organizer Orrin Heatlie, has long been involved in the effort to oust Newsom from office. In addition to contributing nearly $11,000 to the recall campaign, he embarked on a statewide tour earlier this year to promote his book, “Recall Newsom: The Case Against America’s Most Corrupt Governor.” With GOP Assemblymember James Gallagher of Yuba City, Kiley sued Newsom in an attempt to limit his pandemic emergency powers. Though a superior court initially ruled in favor of Kiley and Gallagher, an appeals court overturned the ruling — prompting the two legislators to recently ask the California Supreme Court to reconsider the case.  

Kiley told me Tuesday that as governor, he would work to root out the influence of wealthy interest groups in the Capitol and consider calling a special session of the Legislature to focus on education reform or housing affordability.  

  • Kiley: “In the next couple of months. . .we have a real opportunity to focus, to deliberate as a state about our future and to ask why is it that we sacrifice the most in California and we get the least in return?”  

While prospective candidates face a time crunch, Newsom is staring down a deadline of his own: Friday marks the first hearing in his lawsuit against Secretary of State Shirley Weber over putting his Democratic Party affiliation on the Sept. 14 recall ballot. On Tuesday, recall candidate Caitlyn Jenner filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, arguing that Weber — a Newsom appointee — “likely will not mount a robust, good-faith defense against Newsom’s request for preferential treatment.” 


 (Emily Hoeven writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for CalMatters.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.