Recall debate fails to draw top contenders

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Kevin Faulconer, John Cox and Kevin Kiley participated in an Aug. 17, 2021, recall debate. (Los Angeles Times)

Kevin Faulconer, John Cox and Kevin Kiley participated in an Aug. 17, 2021, recall debate. (Los Angeles Times)

Republicans hoping to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election focused their criticism on the Democratic governor and a leading replacement candidate who both declined to join them at a Tuesday debate, which included a moment of spectacle in which one hopeful was served with a subpoena on stage.

Just three of the 46 candidates running to replace Newsom in the Sept. 14 election participated in Tuesday’s debate at Sacramento’s Guild Theater, though seven were invited — former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley of Rocklin.

Larry Elder, the conservative radio talk show host who has topped recent polling, did not attend, nor did former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. A campaign spokesperson said she would be assessing wildfire damage in Plumas County this week instead since Newsom declined to participate in the debate. Former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose was slated to attend, but announced Tuesday he would drop out of the race after suffering a heart attack. Ose said he is expected to make a full recovery.

As in a previous debate among Republicans this month, the candidates used the platform to rail against Newsom and the Democratic policies they say hurt Californians. But the event also marked the first time front-runner Elder was targeted by the candidates from the debate stage.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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