SAN FRANCISCO (INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS) – The Inside California Politics Governor Recall Debate was held on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021.

The three candidates who participated in the debate were businessman John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley.

Topics discussed included COVID-19, homelessness, minimum wage, infrastructure, climate change, and wildfires. You can watch the full replay in the video above.

Earlier live blog:

7:50 p.m.

Do you believe in human-caused climate change?

Kiley: Starts by sending thoughts and prayers to firefighters fighting the wildfires. When asked about reducing emissions. Disagrees with Newsom mandate. “The reality is… when you have these catastrophic wildfires, it wipes out any gains you have from California’s emission reduction policies.”

Cox: Says he wants real help for a change. He acknowledges we have to manage the forest better. “We need to respond to the problems. Not just sit there and complain about climate change.”

Faulconer: “Climate change is real, I hope we can all agree that the climate in California is changing. But that’s not an excuse not to take action. Lives are at stake.”

7:40 p.m.

What is the biggest issue facing the Latino Community?

Faulconer: Says we have to get our schools open. “Too many Latino parents were faced with that horrible decision and Newsom shut down our schools.”

Cox: “My mother spoke Spanish like a native and she taught four children in Chile.” “When I’m the governor of this state, we’re gonna slash regulation. We’re gonna make it easier for people to start businesses because small business is the engine. It’s the way that people can start at the bottom like I did and rise. I want every Latino family and every family of California to have the same opportunity that I did. ”

Kiley: says the lack of educational opportunity is the biggest issue. Agrees with Faulconer.

7:38 p.m.

Caitlyn Jenner has made immigration one of the centerpieces of her campaign.

Would you use state funding on a border wall?

Cox: I believe it’s needed but feds need to take lead

Faulconer: Have to invest in the infrastructure, feds have failed. “It’s clearly a federal responsibility. We need to have safe and secure borders. It works. You have to invest in the infrastructure to do that. The federal government has absolutely failed.”

Kiley: “I’d certainly do whatever I could to assist with the border situation and secure the border.”

7:36 p.m.

Candidates respond to COX Campaign AD

7:30 p.m.

Will you vote for Donald Trump in 2024?

When asked for a raise hands of hands, no one wanted to. They did want to explain, however.

Cox: “This mismanagement that’s going on in California is really bad…. Yea, I would vote for Trump over Joe Biden any day of the week.”

Faulkner: “We don’t know who the nominee is going to be. I’ll make that decision at the time.”

Kiley: Wants to work w/ both sides. “I stay out of national politics.”

7:25 p.m.

Do you agree with Larry Elder that there should be no minimum wage?

Kiley: “No, but not particularly relevant issue right now, you could make the argument for $0.” Says he supports some level of wage

Cox agrees with Kiley.

Faulconer disagrees with Elder. “We need a minimum wage.”

7:20 p.m.

What are your plans to solve the homeless crisis?

Faulconer: Not allowing tent encampments as he did in San Diego. “Every human being has the right to shelter. When we provide that shelter you have an obligation to use it. And I enforce that obligation in San Diego. I’m going to take the exact same approach as governor.”

Kiley: housing is what we need to address affordability in this state

Cox: We’ve got to get them treatment, and if we have to, force them.


Should businesses require vax proof AND masks?

Cox: It should be up to biz, but would advise not to. “I’m the only businessman up here, and I would tell you a business should be allowed to do what they want” but adds he would “discourage any business from doing it.”

Faulconer: Private biz should do what they believe is best Kiley: Not clear if Governor has the power to do that

7:13 p.m.

Asked If FDA approved covid-19 vaccine, should it be mandated in CA schools like MMR?

Cox doesn’t answer directly but says he thinks FDA approval would influence more to get it. Believes in parental, school choice

Kiley would not deny local school districts from mask mandates but says once state of emergency expires that power might not be available

Faulconer: local + school control with parental influence

7:07 p.m.

Why are you against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate?

Each candidate on stage tonight is against Newsom’s vaccine mandates. Why or why not mandate the COVID-19 vaccine in schools, where students are already required to have the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine?

Faulconer: “It’s not a one size fits all policy. We want to educate. We’re not going to mandate our way out of COVID-19.”

7:05 p.m.

When did you receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

All 3 candidates said they got vaccinated as soon as they were eligible.

Cox: “I think everyone should get vaccinated… but I don’t believe in mandates”

Faulconer: “Get vaccinated. it’s the only way we’re getting out of this.”

Kiley: Criticized Newsom mandate

7:00 p.m.

The debate begins!

Each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer each question.

6:55 p.m.

5 minutes away. The candidates for the upcoming California Recall Debate go head-to-head in just minutes.

Original story below:

How can I watch?

The debate will broadcast and stream to 28 million Californians from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. It can be seen on KRON4 in San Francisco, KTLA in Los Angeles, KSWB FOX5 in San Diego, KTXL FOX 40 in Sacramento, KSEE in Fresno and KGET in Bakersfield. The debate will also be available to stream online on each participating station’s website.

StationNetworkMarketStation WebsiteSocial
KTLACWLos Angeles,
KRONMyNetSan Francisco,

California Governor Recall Debate – Television Broadcast and Live-Stream
KRON4 Studios live in San Francisco
Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. PST

Who’s participating?

John Cox

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 04: California republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox speaks during a campaign rally at Miller Regional Park on May 04, 2021 in Sacramento, California. Republican candidate for California governor John Cox kicked off his campaign with a press event that featured a live 1,000 pound bear. He will continue his bus tour across California over the next few days. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This is Cox’s second campaign for the state’s top job after Cox finished behind Newsom in their 2018 matchup.

A statement from Faulconer’s campaign depicted Cox as a perennial candidate with a long string of losses behind him.

Starting in 2000, Cox ran for the U.S. House and twice for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, but fell short in crowded Republican primaries. He also ran a largely unnoticed campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Cox won 38% of the vote in his 2018 campaign against Newsom. He highlighted the state’s high cost of living, and blamed Sacramento’s dominant Democrats for failing to keep those costs at bay.

Cox, an attorney, became a multimillionaire while moving through a series of professions – accountant, part-owner of a potato chip company, investment manager, and real estate magnate- before turning to politics.

Kevin Faulconer

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 27: California Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Faulconer looks on during a news conference outside of a closed Walgreens store on July 27, 2021 in San Francisco, California. California recall gubernatorial candidate and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer held a news conference in front of a Walgreens store to address the rising crime in California. Walgreens has closed numerous store in San Francisco due to a rise in retail crime like shoplifting. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Faulconer, the former two-term San Diego mayor, has said California had been transformed under Newsom from a lodestar for opportunity to “the land of broken promises.”

Faulconer has proposed ending the state income tax for individuals making up to $50,000 and households up to $100,000 as part of a plan to make the notoriously costly state more affordable for families and the middle class.

He has also released a statewide plan that would create more homeless shelters in California as part of his effort to get people off the streets, declaring homelessness in the state an emergency that must be treated like one.

He faulted Newsom for zig-zag leadership during the outbreak that led to millions of lost jobs and a bumpy vaccine rollout, stranding public school children at home while Newsom’s own youngsters attend private, in-person classes, and a massive unemployment benefits scandal.

Faulconer didn’t support Trump in 2016 but in 2020 changed course and backed the president’s reelection, calling Trump the clear choice over Joe Biden for “getting our economic situation back on track.”

Kevin Kiley

FILE – This Aug. 31, 2017, file photo shows Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Kiley announced on Twitter on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, that he is running in the Sept. 14, recall election in an attempt to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley – one of Newsom’s most vocal critics at the Statehouse, and a rising personality in the California GOP – has faulted Newsom for “special interest corruption” and promised to be an antidote to the governor’s “lawless mode of governance,” he said in a statement.

Kiley, a lawyer and former prosecutor from the Sacramento suburb of Rocklin, is known in the legislature for fighting for access to charter schools and was one of the Republican lawmakers who filed a court challenge to Newsom’s far-reaching policies during the coronavirus pandemic.

At 36-years-old, the state assemblyman could become the state’s first millennial governor.

What are they going to talk about?

Topics will cover the issues Californians care about most, including COVID-19, homelessness, minimum wage, and wildfires.

Why is this recall election important?

In the recall, voters will receive a ballot with two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? Answers to the second question will only be counted if more than half vote yes on the first.

The recall was fueled by frustration over Newsom’s coronavirus shutdown orders and anger after it was learned the governor attended a party with lobbyist friends at The French Laundry last fall when he was telling Californians to stay home. 

The election is set for Sept. 14, though ballots will be mailed to voters in August. 

Why exactly is there a recall drive against Newsom? The answer is simple and complicated: Californians grew angry over a difficult year. Whipsaw pandemic lockdowns, crushing job losses from business closures, shuttered schools and the disruption of daily life soured just about everybody. 

The complicated part: In a state with nearly 40 million people, there are many grievances, from California’s wallet-sapping taxes to a raging homelessness crisis. As governor, Newsom became a target for that resentment. 

For months, Newsom steered around questions about a possible recall election but in March launched an aggressive campaign strategy, fundraising, running ads attacking the recall, and doing national TV and cable interview 

Newsom, who was elected in a 2018 landslide, sees the recall as an attack on California’s progressive policies. 

The recall is backed by state and national Republicans, but organizers argue they have a broad-based coalition, including many independents and Democrats.

It’s not uncommon in California for residents to seek recalls but they rarely get on the ballot – and even fewer succeed. A sitting governor has been ousted just once in the state, when unpopular Democrat Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenneger.

With 46 replacement candidates on the ballot, it’s possible a winner could emerge with as little as 20% of the vote should Newsom be recalled — a fraction of what a candidate would need in a typical statewide election.