Earlier this week, Kelvin Faulconer (Pronounced Falk-Ner), the Mayor of San Diego from 2014-2020, announced that he would officially be running for Governor of California in the state's 2022 Gubernatorial Election. A Moderate Republican, Faulconer has, believe it or not, a semi-obtainable path towards a huge upset victory over incumbent Governor, Gavin Newsom. This is largely due to the fact that most statewide elections in California revolve heavily around various social issues. Issues such as Abortion, Healthcare, Immigration, etc are frequently put 'center stage' in debates, campaign ads, flyers, etc. As it so happens, Faulconer is almost in lockstep with Governor Newsom on things like abortion and healthcare. And since this is a reality that Newsom faces, he won't be able to run stereotypical attack ads against the former Mayor, thus leaving him in quite a bind. But that's only scratching the surface.
On issues surrounding the LGBT+ community, Faulconer is an avid supporter of them receiving equal rights as well as the right to engage in a same-sex marriage. Newsom, again, does not differ on either of these fronts. Cross off another typical smear in the Democratic Party's 'Campaign Playbook'. Having established a few of the difficulties that Governor Newsom will face should he go up against Faulconer, let us now focus on some of Faulconer's weak points. Governor Newsom will likely go after the former Mayor for his failure to keep the Chargers from relocating from San Diego to Los Angeles as this happened under his Mayoral Administration. He'll use their exit to to suggest to voters that if he 'failed' to keep what was one of the cities most prized possessions in town, how can he be trusted to prevent the same happening to corporations and various small businesses. Newsom can also attack him for the issues the city of San Diego had with zoning under his watch and how this could have a negative impact on the housing market statewide.
While it's true that the Chargers left San Diego for Los Angeles, it should be note that they didn't leave without a stringent effort on behalf of Faulconer to keep them in around. He proposed a slight increase in property taxes as well as additional funds in the city's yearly budget to help find land to construct a new stadium (which is what the Chargers front office were wanting). However, a referendum type vote was held and ultimately, the tax increase that Faucloner had proposed was struck down by voters and soon after, the city council would go on to reject his budget increase request. With this in mind, there was effectively nothing he could do to keep the Chargers from packing up and leaving town. So ultimately, if Newsom decides to use this as an offensive tactic to cause Faulconer to stumble, it likely won't have much of an affect (if any) on the general outcome. As far as the issue with zoning, this is an issue that Faulconer will have a hard time defending to say the least. In fairness, his zoning agenda is fairly decent and has had quite a few positive affects throughout the city. But the pricing, as well as the increase in property tax that comes with installing much nicer, family sized homes, has not gone over too well with voters and for a short period of time, it seemed as if his agenda might have have to be completely restructured or abandoned altogether if residential outlook on the proposal didn't improve. However, the hiccups were largely resolved and as such, San Diego has one of the premier housing markets not only in California and on the West Coast, but in all of America.
To close out, I want to present what in my view should constitute a winning strategy for Faulconer should he of course win the Republican primary. Faulconer, in most regards, supports cutting taxes across the board. Newsom does not. One particular tax that Faulconer supports decreasing that Newsom does not that could ultimately serve to Gavin's detriment is the Corporate tax rate for corporations based in California. Presently, the tax rate for corporations in California (other than Banks and Financial institutions) is 8.84%. At first glance, it shouldn't come as a shock as to why so many large scale corporations are fleeing California's tax riddled economy, for a breath of fresh air in states like Colorado (which for the time being is alright with corporate taxes), Arizona, and especially Texas. If Kevin can campaign on reducing the tax rate to a level that will not only convince corporations to stay put in California, but that would also attract corporations to come back in some capacity or arrive in California for the first time, Newsom will very likely be in serious trouble as far as Re-Election is concerned. A high number of Californians (Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike) have voiced their frustrations for many years now for the slow degradation of the statewide economy. Some economists have speculated that if California stays on its current trajectory of taxing the living daylights out of corporations, as well as banks and financials (who have a tax rate of their own at a staggering 10.84%) They could very easily and very likely drop out of the top 5 'best economies' worldwide (where they currently are) at best, and drop out of the top 10 at worst. It remains a mystery as to why California Democrats all throughout the state party structure and all the way up to the Governor's mansion have such a astounding obsession with high taxes and regulations. But one thing is for certain: Sooner rather than later, voters in the state (even those who would, in most circumstances, never consider voting for any other party other than the Democrats) will let the Democrats know how they feel about the high levels of taxes and about how dissatisfied they are that major companies are desperate to leave the state.
To sum up, if Faulconer runs on the following platform, he stands a good chance to become the first Republican Governor of California since Arnold Schwarzenegger last held the office in 2011.
- Revitalize California's housing market so that it not only suits the needs of families, but the needs of young professionals, college students, etc
- Stand with the LGBTQ+ community at all times. This is not a partisan issue, and I will not let my political party preference dictate my stance on equality, regardless of what the national party stance may be.
- Protect our environment, whilst also easing back many of the burdening regulations put in place by the Newsom administration that have had a negative impact on businesses as a result.
- With California being one of the top destinations for immigrants and refugees, we need to be able to accommodate them. However, the needs of said immigrants and refugees should not and will not be placed ahead of the needs of California's citizens. I will support modest reforms of to improve our Immigration system, but we must cut down on the number of immigrants our state takes in.
- Protect a women's right to choose.
- Expand access to Healthcare; but only to documented citizens. Undocumented citizens must first apply for citizenship and be accepted to take a Citizenship test in order to be enrolled in any statewide Healthcare plan.
- Expand statewide resources to help combat future forest fires and minimalize the amount of damage that will come from them.
- Lower the Corporate Tax rate from 8.84% to 6.50% and gradually decrease this figure over my first four years in office. This will gradually see an increase in the number of corporations who settle down in our state and a decrease in the number of corporations who, under the current rate, would be falling over themselves to leave.
For this post, I will leave comments turned on. Feel free to share your thoughts on this would-be platform, and how you think Faulconer would do against Gavin Newsom!