Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's campaign is in a dispute with state officials over whether he can be listed as the city's “retired” mayor on the ballot for the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Each candidate is listed with a job title or other descriptor, but they are not allowed to use the word “former.” Faulconer's campaign requested he be listed as San Diego's “retired” mayor, which state officials are now disputing, Faulconer spokesman John Burke said. He left the office in 2020, and referencing his prior role would help boost his name identification.
Burke said the campaign plans to sue the Secretary of State's office.
"It defies common sense that Kevin Faulconer wouldn’t be allowed to use ‘retired San Diego Mayor’ as his ballot designation, where he was elected and re-elected, leaving office only at the end of last year," Burke said in a written statement. "This is not fair to voters who should be given accurate information as to who the candidates for this recall actually are. Our campaign is suing the Secretary of State to ensure that this is rectified."
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Faulconer isn't the only candidate upset with the list of 41 candidates released Saturday by the state. YouTube creator Kevin Paffrath said he planned to sue to get his YouTube nickname on the ballot.
And, conservative talk radio host Larry Elder was left off the ballot because state officials say he submitted incomplete tax returns, a requirement to run. Elder maintains he should be included and says he'll go to court to get his name on the ballot.
The list of candidates includes 21 Republicans and eight Democrats, one Libertarian, nine independents and two Green Party members. The list has a range of candidates from the anonymous to the famous, including an entertainer known for putting herself on Los Angeles billboards in the 1980s and others with eye-catching names, like deputy sheriff Denver Stoner, and Nickolas Wildstar, who lists himself as a musician/entrepreneur/father.
Also listed is Olympian-turned-reality-TV-star Caitlyn Jenner, who was reportedly in Australia filming a reality show at the time the list was released, though she tweeted Friday that she and her campaign team are "in full operation."
Voters will be sent a ballot with two questions: Should Newsom be recalled, and who should replace him. If more than half of voters say “yes” to the first question, then whoever on the list of potential replacements gets the most votes is the new governor of the nation’s most populous state. With numerous candidates and no clear front-runner, it’s possible the someone could win with less than 25% of the votes.
Ballots will start going out next month in the mail, and the official election date is Sept. 14.