Meet the 46 recall candidates challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

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

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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.

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.”

Kevin Kiley

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

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.

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 for Governor 2021)

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)

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.

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 people are voting with their feet — they’re leaving California because their families can’t afford to stay here,” he said at a recent debate. “We have a governor who doesn’t seem to think that’s a problem. I do.”

Republican
Nonprofit president
Elective office held: None
Furin hails from Minnesota, where she earned degrees in education and competed in Minnesota Miss Teen World and Mrs. Minnesota contests. She moved to California in 1996 and said she has taught children in all grade levels in public, private and community day school settings.

Republican
Farmer and retired clinical psychologist
Elective office held: None
Newman is a farmer and retired clinical psychologist who says he believes in limited government and individual responsibility. He supports the sanctity of life and traditional marriage. His platform includes supporting the 2nd Amendment, legal immigration, agriculture, small business, school choice, allocating more water to farmers, cutting taxes and reducing regulations.

No party preference
Walmart employee
Elective office held: None
Richter was raised in rural Minnesota and is an elected leader of the Socialist Workers Party. Richter has worked in the rail, meatpacking, steel and garment industries and currently works for Walmart. He is active in trade unions.

Democrat
Medical doctor
Elective office held: None
Ross supports mask mandates and promoting vaccinations for as many Californians as possible in order to stop the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A former addict who’s now sober, he believes in public investment to end the opioid addiction epidemic.

Ross also supports developing public housing, a housing-first approach to ending homelessness, cutting taxes for the middle class, raising the state’s minimum wage and investments aimed at fighting climate change and wildfires.

Republican
Pastor
Elective office held: None
A former executive in California’s tech industry, Gallucci said he was called to leave the business world and help others in 2006, when he became an associate pastor at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village.

Gallucci’s platform includes initiatives such as expanding mental health treatment and partnering with nonprofits to solve the homelessness crisis, slashing regulations and taxes on small businesses, improving the quality of education, a multipronged approach to stopping wildfires, criminal justice reform and ensuring election integrity.

Republican
Member, state Board of Equalization
Elective office held: Has served as a state senator and assemblyman
Gaines has promised to defend Proposition 13, resist any attempted tax increases, slash regulations, repeal the gas tax, use the budget surplus to rebuild roads without increasing taxes, hold criminals accountable and fight for new water storage.

Gaines supports overturning Proposition 47, requiring voter identification, ending the high-speed rail project and using mandatory treatment to get the unhoused off the streets.

Caitlyn Jenner

(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Republican
Reality television star and businessperson
Elective office held: None
Jenner has vowed to veto any tax increase and cut regulations she considers outdated or “overly restrictive.” She is one of the most famous names in the race thanks to her history as a former Olympic decathlete and reality television star who publicly shared that she was transgender six years ago.

Republican
Poultry farmer and businessman
Elective office held: None
Zacky left college to work for his family poultry business, which ended up closing. He says he was motivated to get into politics after being “on the receiving end of bad policies,” wants to use desalination and build more reservoirs to address drought, and argues that California has imposed excessive taxes and regulation on businesses.

Republican
Business owner
Elective office held: None
Le Roux, who operates a hobby ranch in Redding, wants to reduce business fees and regulations, include engineering, coding and vocational classes in public schools, and increase prescribed burns to manage the risk of wildfires. She opposes COVID-19 mask and vaccination mandates.

Republican
Law firm chief executive and attorney
Elective office held: None
Lozano said he wants to end homelessness in California in two years or less by building three new residential cities in northern, central and the southern tip of California, each with the capacity to house more than 50,000 homeless people as well as upper- and middle-income residents, under his “A New Hope” plan.

Republican
Retired homicide detective
Elective office held: None
Lodge has argued that portions of jails and prisons should be retrofitted to accommodate people with drug or alcohol addiction to address the homelessness crisis. He wants to eliminate “sanctuary cities” and cap-and-trade programs, and opposes COVID-19 mask and vaccination mandates.

California National Party
Political science lecturer, San Francisco State University
Elective office held: None
Loebs, a lifelong “religious democrat” and chair of the California National Party, said his motivation for running under the CNP came from a desire to break the norm of the two-party political system. “The fact is, in California elections, when we look at things as Team Red and Team Blue, we forget Team California,” Loebs said.

No party preference
Substitute teacher for Santa Rosa City Schools
Elective office held: None
Lucey said his running for governor in California isn’t about securing the actual position but to gain publicity for his proposed ideas for changing family laws and divorce laws in the state. “Running for governor of California in this election is the most cost-effective and efficient way to gain publicity,” Lucey said. “I can’t think of a better way.”

Republican
Bail bondsman, bounty hunter
Elective office held: None
Martinez, who managed a car dealership before becoming a bail bondsman six years ago, said his approach to solving many of California’s financial struggles is to approach the state as if it were a business. “Instead of a car dealership, it’s the state of California,” Martinez said. “It’s another management position.”

No party preference
Exotic car salesman, truck driver
Elective office held: None
Marciniak said he hopes to be the first candidate to be elected governor who is “a normal person, not a millionaire or career politician.” As a truck driver and former exotic car salesman, Marciniak said he saw the recall election as an opportunity for an everyday citizen, such as himself, to become involved in the lawmaking process.

Republican
Independent filmmaker
Elective office held: None
Mercuri, who is no stranger to the political arena, said he was inspired to add his name to the ballot again after growing frustrated with Newsom’s handling of the state’s current environmental and public health crises, such as wildfires and the pandemic. If elected, Mercuri said, he would immediately end California’s state of emergency and investigate the handling of the California Department of Public Health.

Democrat
Cannabis consultant
Elective office held: None
McGowan spent much of her career as a stockbroker before becoming a cannabis consultant. She has pledged to cut taxes for growers, distributors and retailers. She supports the right to carry guns openly. “The cannabis industry is in crisis, and it cannot be ignored any longer,” she told the Napa Register.

No party preference
Educator
Elective office held: None
Moore is a special-education teacher with the Oakland Unified School District and has been an organizer for the Socialist Equality Party since 2010. He has said that Newsom’s push for the reopening of schools during a surge of the highly contagious Delta variant was “completely reckless.” He also has called for shutting down nonessential businesses and compensating workers and small businesses for their losses during the surge.

Republican
Realtor
Elective office held: None
Bramante has said he will end all state emergency orders for COVID-19 and all vaccine mandates. “There is no greater issue right now than protecting Californian’s freedom and civil liberties,” he said on his website. He favors gun rights and believes the state Constitution should be amended to protect the right of Californians to bear arms.

Democrat
Mother and business owner
Elective office held: None
Baade founded Joyful Warrior Yoga in Sacramento in 2011. She favors basic universal income to ensure that every household receives, with state assistance if needed, at least $5,000 a month. “If people want to change work, or to be reeducated or to move to a better place to find work, they will be supported in this,” she has said. She also has pledged to end COVID-19 mandates.

Angelyne

(Tara Ziemba / Getty Images)

No party preference
Entertainer
Elective office held: None
Angelyne describes herself as a billboard queen. She appeared in underwear on billboards in Los Angeles during the 1980s and favors the color pink. She opposes vaccine mandates and believes that police should be subject to a three-strikes scheme and be dismissed if “reported” three times for misconduct. “And, for those wonderful peace officers: there shall be a policeman’s ball,” she told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

American Solidarity Party
Retired educator
Elective office held: None
Hanink, who taught philosophy and political science at Loyola Marymount University and has been active in social justice efforts through the Catholic Church, said his politics are neither right nor left, conservative nor liberal. “We try to advance the common good by applying the principles of solidarity,” he said. “The first measure of justice is how the most vulnerable are treated.”

Republican
Aircraft mechanic
Elective office held: None
Hillberg, a pilot and aircraft mechanic who served in the Army and has worked as an actor, said he is running “on the enforcement of the law” and described Democratic dominance of California as “a binge of corruption.” “Many of the crises we have, including homelessness, the water crisis, the fires, were created by a one-party rule system,” he said.

Libertarian
Riverside County supervisor
Elective office held: Former mayor of Calimesa
Hewitt, a businessman, served on the Planning Commission and City Council in the city of Calimesa before his election in 2018 as a Riverside County supervisor. He decries the state’s failure to plan for drought by building new reservoirs and has called for reforming the California Environmental Quality Act as a way to promote affordable housing.

Democrat
College student
Elective office held: None
Drake, a 20-year-old junior studying political science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, described himself as a progressive with an emphasis on “affordable housing, affordable education, and affordable healthcare.” He said he voted no on recalling Newsom, but “if he is recalled, it’s better that he be replaced by a progressive than a Republican.”

Larry A. Elder

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Republican
Broadcaster and author
Elective office held: None
Elder, a lawyer by training, is an author and longtime talk-radio host who has described himself as a “small-L libertarian.” He is a critic of what he calls intrusive government and soft-on-crime policies. He opposes mask and vaccine mandates. He said he would declare a “homeless emergency” and spur affordable housing by curbing the California Environmental Quality Act.

Kevin Paffrath

(Kevin Paffrath)

Democrat
YouTuber, real estate broker, financial advisor
Elective office held: None
A prolific social media personality who goes by “Meet Kevin,” Paffrath describes himself as a “JFK Democrat” who believes in lower taxes, more social programs and a centrist worldview. Paffrath has promised to house all homeless people in the state within 60 days of taking office by creating large-scale shelters. Other issues on his platform include ending state income taxes for most Californians, building a water pipeline from the Mississippi River to address the drought, and ending the “underground handyperson economy.”

No party preference
Entertainer/tour guide
Elective office held: None
Papagan is an entertainer who also works as a tour guide in L.A., specializing in the history of the O.J. Simpson case, “The Real Housewives” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Though his ballot statement is a brief “Love U,” due to the per-word cost of including it in the official voters’ guide, he pledged to give the job “an honest, real shot” if elected. His focus would be on fixing problems involving wildfires, homelessness and housing affordability.

Democrat
Small-business owner
Elective office held: None
Perez describes himself as a conservative Catholic whose grandparents were agricultural laborers, and is running to be the first Latino governor of California. He is a 2nd Amendment supporter and would loosen rules on concealed-carry permits. Perez, from Orange County, does not support vaccine mandates and proposes to build a “Perez pipeline” between Canada and California to address wildfires and the drought by importing water for a statewide sprinkler system.

John Cox

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Republican
Business owner
Elective office held: None
Cox has been touring the state with Tag, a Kodiak bear, framing himself as a “beast” who can fix California’s problems with a conservative agenda. A perennial political candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Newsom in the 2018 election, Cox would address homelessness by increasing access to conservatorships to force those on the streets to receive mental health or substance abuse treatment if needed. He also opposes state mask and vaccine mandates and would increase school choice by allowing families direct access to state pupil funds.

Green Party
Businesswoman/hairstylist
Elective office held: None
An Irish immigrant and salon owner, Collins is a former Democrat running as a Green Party candidate. On social media, she has said she was “personally and professionally devastated” by Newsom’s shutdown orders, which drew particular ire from many in service industries. Collins said she would allow homeless people with vehicles to have safe space in parking garages where they could access services and believes education is the key to ending systemic poverty.

Daniel Watts

(Daniel Watts)

Democrat
Lawyer
Elective office held: None
Watts is a free-speech and civil-litigation lawyer who is voting no on recalling Newsom. That isn’t stopping him from running in the replacement category to promote his agenda that all public four-year colleges in California should be tuition-free if they pass scrutiny for upholding free-speech laws.

“I’m not running against Newsom, I’m running to force the other candidates — and hopefully the governor — to support free speech and free college,” Watts told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We have a $76-billion surplus; for one-tenth of that, we could make every four-year public college in California 100% tuition-free.”

These profiles were reported by Times staff writers Robin Estrin, Julia Wick, Faith Pinho, Gregory Yee, Emily Alpert Reyes, Melissa Hernandez, Maura Dolan, Christopher Goffard and Anita Chabria.

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