California Recall

The first list of qualified Calif. recall candidates is here. Here’s the big name missing.

While the 2021 gubernatorial recall isn’t quite the extravaganza of 2003, when Californians pulled Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it has drawn considerable interest from a growing list of names.

Saturday, California’s Secretary of State issued the first of two lists announcing the field of qualified candidates vying to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom via the recall process.

Here’s who qualified, according to Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber:

One name missing? Larry Elder, the Los Angeles-based conservative talk host, who announced his candidacy in the waning days of the filing period.

Saturday night, Elder’s campaign stated it was unaware of the reason for his omission from the qualification list, operating on an assumption that California elections officials had yet to complete a count of signatures to make the ballot.

Sunday, however, Weber’s office released a letter to the Elder campaign stating that Elder failed to provide particular tax return information as part of a state law requiring five years worth of tax returns to appear on the ballot.

In a tweet on Sunday, Elder called the move “unprecedented.”

“We have complied with all requirements to be a candidate. Why are they using this new law against me? Where is the precedent? They are claiming on Saturday they had notified me of the what and why of their action. They did not notify me until early Sunday evening,” Elder said in his statement. “Politicians know I’m the only candidate who will beat Gavin Newsom – and that’s why they don’t want me on the ballot. They’re using shenanigans that they invented to block the doors of the Governor’s office and make sure they stay in power. This doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Elder’s lone recourse beyond a reversal from Weber is litigation, he said in a statement.

“Unless cooler heads prevail in the Office of Secretary of State Monday morning and they walk back their unprecedented refusal to put me on the ballot, I will accept the invitation of the Secretary of State to sue in behalf of myself and the people,” he added. “The voters won’t stand for it.”

However, his absence drew attention amid the listing of a different late entrant in the GOP – Asm. Kevin Kiley (R–Rocklin) – along with the qualification of other celebrity and novelty candidates such as Caitlyn Jenner and Angelyne.

While Kiley announced his entrance in the race shortly after the Independence Day holiday, Elder made his splashy announcement four days before the filing deadline.

In a statement on Saturday night, Elder’s campaign said it expected to make the final list of qualified candidates.

“Our campaign submitted every document required by the Secretary of State and the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters late Friday afternoon, shortly before the two offices closed. We expect Larry Elder to be on the final certified list of candidates,” his camp said.

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