San Diego’s Mayor Faulconer for California Governor?

Faulconer (AP / Lenny Ignelzi)
Associated Press / Lenny Ignelzi

San Diego’s moderate Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer, may make a run for Governor of California in 2018 against a tough Democratic field.

Sources close to Faulconer, including former Republican Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, told Politico that despite previously pledging to serve out his four-year term and not run for governor, he now appears to be putting a toe in the water.

Riordan, who himself ran for the seat in 2002, said Faulconer expressed plans to run during a meeting between the two last month.

In November, former Rep. Tom Campbell assembled approximately 100 tech industry donors and brought in Faulconer with hopes to coax the big city mayor to run, according to Politico.

In May 2016, Faulconer said that he would not make a run for governor in 2018 if he won re-election as mayor, telling the Associated Press, “I am here for four years as mayor.”

He did indeed win re-election as mayor the next month in California’s June primary election, avoiding a runoff in the November general election. That was his first non-special election win.

His first election was a special election that followed the ousting of disgraced Democrat former mayor Bob “filthy” Filner. Filner was run out of office for a litany of sexual harassment charges.

Outgoing Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has long been floated Republican candidate for governor, but as recently as December 2016 she told KSEE24, “It’s a firm no.” Swearengin notably backed the troubled high-speed rail project that has become Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy project.

In 2014 the Republican heavily establishment-backed Neel Kashkari eked out a primary victory over grassroots-backed, then-State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.

Kashkari ultimately lost in a landslide to Gov. Brown, garnering a mere 40 percent of the vote to Brown’s 60 percent.

Donnelly commented to Breitbart News on a potential Faulconer run:

Any Republican running for Governor in California must first deal with the dysfunctional California GOP — who guaranteed the re-election of Gov, Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown in 2014, and two years later, handed Democrats a Super Majority in the legislature.  Having failed to elect any Republican to statewide office in recent memory, Mayor Faulconer might do well to avoid the kiss of death of the California GOP and model his run after President-elect Donald Trump’s successful bid by running against the Republican elitists.  If he does that, who knows?  He might have a chance.

A November 2016 Field Poll conducted jointly with the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley revealed Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom out in front early with 23 percent. Faulconer came in second with 16 percent support.

Former tech executive and California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner was one of few Republicans to win statewide office in the past decade other than then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Poizner formed an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2010, but ultimately Meg Whitman was the party’s nominee, to replace Schwarzenegger and lost to Brown as he came back to the office of governor after several decades’ absence.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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