Opportunity binge

Meet the 46 recall candidates challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom

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The first question California voters face in the Sept. 14 recall election is simple: Remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office or retain him? The second question is where voters face a more complicated decision: Whom to select, if anyone, from the 46 people on the ballot vying for the chance to become governor if the recall succeeds?

Realistically, only a few of the candidates have a chance to finish first in this race. But all have secured the necessary signatures and paid a filing fee to appear on the ballot, whatever their motivation. They represent a mix of ideologies and political ties: Mostly Republicans, but a few Democrats, those who indicate no party preference and some affiliated with lesser-known parties.

Here is a snapshot of the 46 (including Republican former Rep. Doug Ose, who remains on the ballot but withdrew from the contest after suffering a heart attack):

Nickolas Wildstar | Joe Symmon | Major Singh | Denver Stoner | Sarah Stephens | Doug Ose | Dan Kapelovitz | Kevin K. Kaul | Chauncey “Slim” Killens | Kevin Kiley | Patrick Kilpatrick | Anthony Trimino | Joel Ventresca | Kevin L. Faulconer | Rhonda Furin | Robert C. Newman II | Dennis Richter | Brandon M. Ross | Sam L. Gallucci | Ted Gaines | Caitlyn Jenner | Leo S. Zacky | Jenny Rae Le Roux | David Lozano | Steve Chavez Lodge | Michael Loebs | Denis Lucey | Diego Martinez | Jeremiah “Jeremy” Marciniak | Daniel Mercuri | Jacqueline McGowan | David Moore | David Alexander Bramante | Holly L. Baade | Angelyne | James G. Hanink | David Hillberg | Jeff Hewitt | John R. Drake | Larry A. Elder | Kevin Paffrath | Adam Papagan | Armando “Mando” Perez-Serrato | John Cox | Heather Collins | Daniel Watts

Nickolas Wildstar

Republican
Musician
Elective office held: None
Wildstar, a “Ron-Paul Republican” and hip-hop artist, wants to suspend tax collection for one year, end qualified immunity for police officers and integrate cryptocurrency into a publicly owned banking system. He is against COVID-19-related closures and does not support vaccine mandates.

Joe Symmon

Republican
Community volunteer
Elective office held: None
Symmon believes “free-for-all smoking of marijuana” is to blame for the rise in homelessness, that “marriage is between a man and a woman” and that “life begins at conception.” The born-again Christian said he is “not ashamed” of his faith but would not force his religion on anybody. He is against vaccine mandates.

Major Singh

No party preference
Software engineer
Elective office held: None
Singh seeks long-term solutions to homelessness and wildfires, which he named as two of the state’s biggest crises alongside COVID-19. He wants to harness technology to prevent wildfires and address the social and economic issues behind homelessness. Singh supports vaccination requirements for healthcare workers who interact with patients but would not support a statewide masking mandate.

Denver Stoner

Republican
Deputy sheriff
Elective office held: None
Stoner, of Alpine County, decided to run for governor upon hearing about the recall election on the radio, to which he laughed and responded, “It would be great having a Stoner in office.” “Pro-gun,” Stoner wants to make it easier for people to purchase legal firearms, but his top priority would be addressing “poor forest management.” He does not support any criminal justice reforms or vaccine mandates.

Sarah Stephens

Republican
Pastor
Elective office held: None
Stephens believes that hydroxychloroquine, vitamin D and sunlight heal COVID-19 and that the vaccine is made with “fetal tissue,” which is false. She says she would lift all mask and vaccine mandates and address her top priorities — the economy, education reform and homelessness — by aiding small businesses and cutting taxes, ending critical race theory and “sexual indoctrination” in schools, and supporting programs for veterans and others experiencing homelessness.

Doug Ose

Doug Ose

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Doug Ose

Republican
Real estate developer and rancher
Elective office held: Three terms in Congress
Ose dropped out of the race after suffering a heart attack, but his name still appears on the ballot. The former three-term Sacramento-area congressman briefly ran for governor in 2018. He has endorsed Kevin Kiley in the recall race.

Dan Kapelovitz

Dan Kapelovitz

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Dan Kapelovitz

Green
Criminal defense attorney
Elective office held: None
Kapelovitz, a former Hustler magazine editor, now runs a one-man legal shop called the Radical Law Center. He considered running for governor during the 2003 recall election but didn’t want to anger his then-boss Larry Flynt, who was also a candidate. His platform focuses on animal rights, criminal justice reform, public health and fire prevention.

A man seated in front of California and U.S. flags

Kevin K. Kaul

(Kevin K. Kaul)

Kevin K. Kaul

No party preference
Construction and real estate development
Elective office held: None
A native of India, Kaul first came to the U.S. to attend business school in South Dakota but moved west to escape the cold. The Long Beach resident and naturalized U.S. citizen now runs a construction business. “We immigrants are more loyal. That’s the reason I said I will run for governor,” Kaul said.

Chauncey “Slim” Killens

Republican
Pastor
Elective office held: None
Killens is a pastor and retired correctional officer who has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. He attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., although he said he did not enter the Capitol during the insurrection and condemned the violence that took place. His candidate statement reads, “Vote For Me The People’s Governor.”

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley

Kevin Kiley

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Kevin Kiley

Republican
Assemblyman
Elective office held: Three terms in the state Assembly
Kiley entered electoral politics in 2016 after teaching high school in South Los Angeles, working at a law firm and prosecuting cases as a deputy state attorney general. The Rocklin assemblyman is a proponent of school choice and opposes mask and vaccine mandates.

Patrick Kilpatrick

Democrat
Actor/screenwriter/producer
Elective office held: None
Kilpatrick said he briefly ran for Congress in 2014 but withdrew before the filing deadline. After more than two decades in the film and theater industry, Kilpatrick founded Uncommon Dialogue Films, where he is chief executive. His campaign slogan is, “Not a politician, not a pundit, a person of the people.”

Anthony Trimino

Anthony Trimino

(Anthony Trimino for Governor 2021)

Anthony Trimino

Republican
Entrepreneur/CEO
Elective office held: None
A native Californian and father of five, Trimino is the chief executive of Traffik, a marketing and advertising agency based in Irvine.

Joel Ventresca

Joel Ventresca

(Joel Ventresca)

Joel Ventresca

Democrat
Retired airport analyst
Elective office held: None
Ventresca served as an environmental commissioner for the city and County of San Francisco in the 1990s and has since run unsuccessfully for several posts in the city and county. “As an incorruptible, independent, Berniecrat Democrat, I offer new transformational leadership and fundamental change,” he said.

Kevin L. Faulconer

Republican
Businessman/educator
Elective office held: Two terms as mayor of San Diego
Faulconer served as mayor of San Diego from 2014 to 2020. He has championed his record on alleviating homelessness in the city and the ability to work across the aisle with Democrats. “Our state is too expensive and…

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