If you live in Florida and your juices are erupting because your school commissars are requiring your kids to wear masks, the state will give you a voucher so you can send your progeny to a private school.

That level of sheer, mind-boggling idiocy hasn’t taken hold very strongly yet in California. But it’s exactly what the prime backers of the upcoming special election to recall Gavin Newsom as governor of California wouldn’t hesitate to implement given the opportunity. 

It certainly can’t be a surprise that a high proportion of the recall’s organizers and bankrollers are ding-a-lings who are giddily awaiting Donald Trump’s reinstatement this very month. That’s not much of a demographic in West Marin, and it is surely a given that the local vote will line up heavily favoring the no side of the recall. 

Even if we don’t like having to deal with the recall, it is a reality: The election date is Sept. 14, mail-in ballots are already hitting our mailboxes, and even though we know we will vote no on the recall, we still have to sort out the mess of how to vote on question two, which will determine who will succeed Newsom if the recall is (heaven forbid!) successful.

The ballot lists a hodge-podge of 46 candidates vying to succeed Gov. Newsom. Opponents of the recall are solidly recommending that you not vote at all on a successor candidate. Mark your “no” on question one, they advise, and skip question two. I agree with this approach, which becomes easier to accept when you start looking at the positions and bios of all 46 of the governor wannabes. Whew, boy! 

Unfortunately, many of us were brought up to take our franchise so seriously that we get all shaky at the prospect of skipping any item on the ballot. What to do? Here’s my take.

If you must—really must!—vote for someone, probably the least objectionable viable candidate is Kevin Faulconer, a Republican and former mayor of San Diego. He even espouses decent positions on several hot-button issues. But at the end of the day, Faulconer crawls back into the same tent as Kevin McCarthy, Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz (with whom, tellingly, he shares a political advisor). According to the Los Angeles Times, Faulconer voted for Trump last November—‘nuff said?

The other front-runners are John Cox, Larry Elder, Caitlyn Jenner, Kevin Kiley and Doug Ose. All are Republicans, and all are to the right of Faulconer. One recent poll showed Democrat Kevin Paffrath, a real estate entrepreneur and YouTube millionaire, with more than family-and-friends support.

Instead of worrying about who might succeed Gov. Newsom, focus on sending in your ballot, check that all your housemates do the same, talk to your neighbors about how important it is to vote in this election, and don’t be embarrassed to shout out the message from the rooftops.


If you are intrigued by the scrum of candidates, here’s a good site for thumbnail descriptions of everyone who is running, grouped conveniently by prominence, from “Politicians” to “Regular Joes and Jills”: calmatters.org/explainers/newsom-recall-candidates.


Wade Holland of Inverness has been parsing the ballot from a West Marin perspective for over 50 years. He recommends you reread David Morris’s Perspective on the recall in last week’s Point Reyes Light.