Tech billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya says he isn’t running for California governor

California

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/KTXL) –  Billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya is shooting down all speculation of a possible run for California governor.

Palihapitiya made the announcement on his All-In podcast Wednesday.

“Let’s be really honest. I’m not ready to do any of that,” Palihapitiya said. “What I need to do is, I need to figure out a) My business and where it’s going and then b) I do think it’s worth figuring out what are the conflict of interest laws and what do you have to do if all of this were to come to pass, because I can not make a credible decision unless I knew that. I just have things that I want to do.”

He added that he was currently working on a battery project “that is important for a lot of places much more than California.”

“If I had to abandon this battery project, I wouldn’t do it,” he said.

Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, Social Capital CEO and current chairman of Virgin Galactic, sparked rumors of a possible run for governor on Jan. 26 in a tweet in which he suggested he was backing efforts to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In the tweet, he also linked to a website – Chamath for California Governor – that included a few policy proposals, including a call for cutting state taxes and raising salaries for public school teachers.

As of Wednesday afternoon the website was still up and running.

In addition to Palihapitiya, John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer support the growing effort to recall Gov. Newsom.

Cox confirmed to Inside California Politics this week that he will run against Newsom if the recall effort gets enough verified signatures. Faulconer has also launched an exploratory committee for his own gubernatorial campaign.

For a recall election to take place, organizers must collect nearly 1.5 million signatures by March 17.  

So far, organizers say they have collected 1.2 million signatures.

If the required signatures are collected and verified, a recall election would take place later this year. 

Newsom has faced increasing criticism for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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