Republican San Diego mayor may challenge Newsom in 2022, as backlash builds against governor

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Fed up with the California governor’s coronavirus policies, San Diego’s Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer says he is “seriously considering” running for governor against Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom is up for reelection in 2022. Faulconer, a moderate Republican, did not run for reelection in 2020 and is finishing his final weeks as mayor of California's second-most populous city. 

"We need leadership — right now," Faulconer told Politico on Thursday. "People are angry … and rightfully so."

Matt Awbrey, Faulconer's strategic advisor confirmed his considerations to Fox News. “Mayor Faulconer has received an outpouring of encouragement to shakeup Sacramento, and is strongly considering running for Governor of California," he said.

The San Diego mayor said Californians across the political spectrum “have had it.” 

Newsom was forced to apologize this week after photos showed him dining at a posh restaurant in the company of multiple lobbyists and even two of the state’s top medical officials to celebrate longtime adviser Jason Kinney's 50th birthday. Twelve people and more than three households attended the dinner at French Laundry in Napa County. California’s rules limit the number of households to three that may gather. 

Amid public backlash and accusations of hypocrisy, Newsom apologized on Monday, calling his decision to attend a “bad mistake.”

Last month, his office was widely ridiculed for tweeting: “Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites.”

The governor also took heat last month for sending his own children back to in-person learning at a private school, while most of California’s 6 million public school students remained in distance learning. At the same time, California assembly members demanded more specific action from Newsom and other state officials surrounding reopening, particularly testing capacity. 

“I am seeing and hearing more frustration than ever before with the governor’s hypocrisy,” Faulconer said, noting that the governor was enjoying privileges most Californians do not have in sending his kids to private school.

He also aired the business community’s frustration with fluctuating and inconsistent lockdowns.

As coronavirus cases resurge across the state, Newsom ordered an overnight curfew in 41 counties that account for nearly the entire state population of just under 40 million people.

Beginning Saturday, “non-essential work, movement and gatherings” in purple tier counties must stop between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Among the purple tier counties is Napa. 


Newsom’s latest stay-at-home order will last one month, until Dec. 21, but could be extended if infection rates and disease trends don't improve.

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