Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been “strongly considering” running to be California’s next governor and, on Monday, he made some steps in that direction.
Faulconer – whose 6-year term as San Diego’s mayor ended last month – posted on Twitter Monday morning that he had launched a gubernatorial exploratory committee to help determine whether he should run for the state’s leadership position.
“No better way to ring in the New Year than taking the first step in turning around California,” Faulconer’s message read. “I want you to be part of this California comeback.”
In a statement released later in the day to NBC 7, Faulconer explained some of the reasoning behind the step.
"California desperately needs change at the top. People are struggling to put food on the table and teach their kids from home — because Gavin Newsom has left public schools to fend for themselves during the pandemic, and can’t even do the basics like issue unemployment checks on time. Even before this crisis, homelessness was skyrocketing, businesses and jobs were leaving, and our overall quality of life was decreasing. This exploratory committee is an important first step as we all look forward to the 2022 election or even a potential recall. It's time to restore balance and common sense to our state."
NBC 7 reported in November that Faulconer was mulling the idea of entering the race for governor. He has recently criticized the work of current California Gov. Gavin Newsom amid the state’s handling – and shutdowns – during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a new year. We need a new governor,” the Republican wrote in his Facebook post. “I’m signing the petition to recall Gavin Newsom. Jobs are leaving, homelessness is skyrocketing, and the state can’t even do the basics like issue unemployment checks to people who at this very moment are struggling to get by. We know that California is better than this, and we have the power to make a change.”
“Every Californian fed up with the governor's hypocrisy and failures should sign the recall petition,” Faulconer’s post continued. “Either through a recall or a regular election, it’s time to start holding the governor accountable.”
In November, Matt Awbrey, Faulconer's personal spokesperson and former Chief of Civic and External Affairs, told NBC 7 Fauloncer had “received an outpouring of encouragement to shakeup Sacramento,” leading him to consider the run for governor.
Faulconer’s last day as San Diego Mayor was in mid-December 2020; the office was taken over by Mayor Todd Gloria, who is now the city’s 37th mayor – and the first-ever person of color and member of the LGBTQ community to hold the city’s highest leadership position.
Faulconer was elected mayor during a February 2014 special election to fill the void left by then-embattled Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned in August 2013, two months before pleading guilty to criminal charges. Faulconer was re-elected to a second term in the summer of 2016.