California Recall

Newsom, Faulconer kick off TV ad blitz

Gov. Gavin Newsom and one of his top GOP rivals are starting their television air war in earnest this week, their respective camps announced.

Ad buyers for Newsom’s “Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom,” a committee formed to block the recall that can raise and spend unlimited sums, are set to begin airing television ads on Thursday, television ad firm Medium Buying said.

While Newsom’s anti-recall committee has spent funds on digital advertisements, the move is the first gambit of TV advertising since recall organizers qualified the push for a Fall election.

Thus far, it’s unclear how much Newsom plans on spending for this first ad campaign. Nor have new TV ads been published online.

Meanwhile, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer – a leading GOP contender to replace Newsom – started his first TV advertisement of the recall season through a new committee dubbed “Clean Up California.”

Faulconer is making a strategic choice with his first ads: they’re in Spanish.

Take a look:

Here’s the voiceover language, in English:

“Gavin Newsom wants you to think that his impeachment is a circus and some may make it look that way, but this recall is not a public relations gimmicks. It’s about Californians from everywhere and all parties fighting to save the state we love. Gavin Newsom has failed to get children back to school, as the latest in the nation. He is releasing thousands of violent criminals and his policies have exacerbated the homeless crisis.

The spot features a subtle jab at fellow GOPer John Cox, with visuals of his campaign tour featuring a 1,000-pound bear.

What’s behind the weird organizations?

Faulconer, and other contenders seeking to replace Newsom, face campaign finance quirk with this battle, as the recall election is actually two elections in one.

The first election – whether a Governor should be recalled – is considered a ballot measure election. Committees weighing in on this question are able to raise and spend unlimited sums advocating for or against a recall.

However, the second election – who should replace the recalled Governor – is considered a candidate election, where California’s strict campaign finance fundraising limits apply.

Faulconer, and likely other GOPers, are able to circumvent being exclusively boxed into only raising money for their campaign committees – where they can promote their candidacy to replace Newsom – by forming “ballot measure committees” to weigh-in on the recall question.

While Newsom can’t raise money for the second, candidate election on the recall ballot (as recalled Governors cannot be featured on the replacement ballot), He can tap donors for two pots of money: his unlimited “Stop the Republican Recall” and his 2022 reelection campaign committee.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.