California candidate Kevin Kiley speaks on upcoming recall election

Jayne Yutig


Jayne Yutig

Candidate Kevin Kiley speaks about California recall election.

by Jayne Yutig, Assistant Multimedia Editor

The California gubernatorial recall election is set for Sept. 14 and voters are divided on whether or not to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.

The special election was born out of frustrations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions and mandates have polarized the nation with California being the only state in the nation to successfully initiate an effort to remove its governor. 

Newsom’s handling of the state’s efforts were the most restrictive in the country. But after multiple scandals including a private dinner party during California’s stay-at-home order, over 1.6 million Californian’s exceeded the signature threshold to certify the recall election.

Voters in San Diego County like Tania Marin support voting yes on the recall because she said basic freedoms are what is at stake in the special election. 

“Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, if you believe something that’s great,” Marin said. “But no one should be forced to do anything.You should have the choice, the freedom of choice, and that’s why so many people come to America.”

Marin said the closing of businesses during the pandemic warrants the recall of Newsom. Marin said Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Gov. Ron Desantis of Florida are examples of how to govern while still respecting individual freedoms. 

Both governors have received support for their opposition to government mandates, but citizens in their respective states have endured the worst of the pandemic. South Dakota has experienced the largest increase in COVID-19 cases in the nation since the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally while Desantis has signed a law that will withhold the pay of school administrators that impose vaccine and mask mandates.

“They have a huge following because they stand for the people and not their own pockets and personal interests,” Marin said.

Marin attended a campaign rally at the Waterfront Park in Downtown San Diego in support of one of the candidates for governor, California Assembly member Kevin Kiley. 

Kiley is one of over 40 candidates hoping to secure enough votes to replace Newsom if the recall passes. Kiley said college students should pay attention to this election because young people have the most at stake.

“We have made this state so difficult for young people to grow up in,” Kiley said. “Kids coming out of college today, you can get a good job, work really hard, do everything right but not be able to afford a down payment on a home until you’re in your 40’s.”

A recent SurveyUSA poll conducted for The San Diego Union Tribune shows 5 percent of voters supporting Kiley, well behind front runner Larry Elder who is at 27 percent. Despite the gap in support, Kiley said the person he is running against is Newsom and he won’t contrast himself with any other republican candidates.

“I’m seeking to differentiate myself from Gavin Newsom, he’s my opponent in this race. I think he’s led the state in the wrong direction and I seek to lead it in a totally different direction,” Kiley said. 

Kiley said his qualifications in Sacramento are what sets him apart from any other candidate in the race.

“I’m the one person running who’s been fighting in the legislature,” Kiley said. “I’ve been a member of the California legislature for five years. If the recall is successful, I’d be ready on day one to actually implement the changes that we really need here.”

Kiley has sat on the higher education committee during his time in the California legislature and said he has fought against the consistent increase in tuition at California State Universities. 

“We have a very large budget in California, we pay a lot of taxes and I don’t see any reason why we should keep asking our students to pay more to get a good education,” Kiley said.

San Diego State College Democrats President Maya Banks said her organization is counting on students to turnout and vote no on the recall despite low enthusiasm to participate.

“The gap between winning and losing for Newsom is tiny,” Banks said. “I think it’s a super important election for democrats in particular to vote in because we’re seeing Republicans (are) more likely to vote because it’s a way to get Newsom out of office.”

Multiple controversies involving Newsom during California’s stay-at-home order drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. But Banks said that doesn’t warrant removing Newsom from office.

“I think it was definitely a misuse of his power,” Banks said. “But does that really say he’s a danger to the citizens of California?” 

The results of the election will ultimately come down to voter turnout and Banks said that is what concerns her the most. 

“The problem is going to be that if we have too many Democrats who decide to just not fill out their ballots and not vote in this election, there’s a good chance a republican will come to power. But that Republican will not be widely supported throughout the state,” Banks said.

Every voter in California has been mailed a ballot and will have the opportunity to vote in-person on Sept. 14. Associated Students will host a county-led Super Poll at Viejas Arena from Sept. 11 to Sept. 14. Students can also register to vote and return in mail-in ballots at the arena on election day.