Governor Gavin Newsom Recall Voter Guide
Published September 14, 2021
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Why is it important to vote “no” in this recall? This is going to be a very low turnout election, which means a few motivated Republican voters will be able to recall Governor Newsom if enough Democrats sit it out.
What’s the worst that could happen? The Democratic Party didn’t offer any viable alternative candidates. So if the recall goes through, one of the Republican candidates on the ballot will become California’s governor — and some of them are Trump supporters.
What can you do? The ballot will consist of only two questions. Be sure to answer both:
- Should Governor Newsom be recalled? No.
- Who should replace Governor Newsom if he is recalled? Pick one of the least problematic candidates on the list. That might be Kevin Paffrath, Kevin Faulconer, or Kevin Kiley, but you need to decide for yourself (see comparison table below).
Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled?
❌ No on Recall Gavin Newsom
Do not recall Governor Gavin Newsom Governor Gavin Newsom isn't perfect, and we've been disappointed with his lack of leadership on housing, homelessness, and the environment. But every other option in the recall is worse.
You should VOTE NO on the recall.
If recalled, who should replace Gavin Newsom?
While GrowSF does not endorse any of the candidates on the ballot, we want to help you make an informed backup choice. Here's a brief description of the top-polling candidates:
Kevin Paffrath is a 'landlord youtuber' and registered Democrat who has zero political experience and has never held office. Paffrath says he will use emergency powers and the national guard to build homeless shelters and other housing. Paffrath opposes both mask and vaccine mandates.
Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, is the former mayor of San Diego, where he served two terms. He was elected in a majority-Democratic city and worked across the aisle with the Democratic-controlled city hall to legalize new high-density housing, build homeless shelters, decrease homelessness by 12%, and support the rights of LGBTQ people. Faulconer opposes both mask mandates and vaccine mandates, though he is pro-vaccine and thinks everyone should get it.
Kevin Kiley is a conservative Republican who currently holds office in the State Assembly. He sits on the Housing and Community Development committee, where he voted in favor of legalizing 4-plexes state-wide, among other committees. Kiley co-authored SB50 with Senator Scott Wiener, which would have legalized apartments near transit, statewide. Kiley opposes both mask and vaccine mandates.
Larry Elder is currently in first place and is a right-wing talk radio host who wants to ban abortions, abolish gun regulations, abolish the IRS, and end welfare. If you just vote No on the recall without voting for a backup option, he'll be our next governor. Elder opposes both mask and vaccine mandates.
John Cox (you know... the guy with the bear) is polling in second place. He is a conservative Republican who ran for governor in 2018 with a platform of building a border wall and banning abortion, and was endorsed by President Trump. Cox opposes both mask and vaccine mandates.
Caitlyn Jenner isn't polling well, but she has a decent shot of winning on name recognition alone. She has zero governing experience, and has pledged to leave the Paris Climate Accords. Jenner opposes mask mandates but has no clear position on vaccines.
How the recall works
How to vote
- You should have already received a ballot in the mail. Find it, fill it out, and mail it back.
- Ballots are due in the mail by September 14.
- You can also vote in person on September 14. If you aren’t registered to vote or didn’t update your address, no problem! California allows same day voter registration and voting. Just show up at a polling location and you can fill out a “Provisional Ballot”.
Governor Newsom needs a simple majority (50% + 1) to survive the recall. If he fails to get a majority, question 2 is what determines who our next governor is.
IMPORTANT: The winner of question 2 only needs to get the most votes, not a majority of votes. If the top vote-getter only gets 10%, they will still become governor. Do not just vote No and leave question two blank. Your vote on question 2 carries more power than usual, so use it.
You can, and should, vote on both questions.
Why aren't any Democratic voter guides suggesting a backup choice?
The Democratic Party does not allow Democratic clubs to endorse anyone who is not a registered Democrat.
While a few registered Democrats appear on the ballot, the Democratic Party did not recruit a viable alternative to Governor Newsom and is telling people to only vote "No" on the recall and leave question two blank. GrowSF thinks this is irresponsible. If Newsom is recalled and Democrats don't vote for a backup option, we are letting others decide who will be the new governor. There are no good choices but some are worse than others.
GrowSF is not controlled by any political interest groups or political parties. We are, and will always be, independent. We are committed to giving you the best advice available and explaining the trade-offs of all of your choices.