I was in studio with Michael Patrick Leahy.
In the wide-ranging interview, one issue was about the recall election of Governor Newsom.
Here is what I said, edited for space and clarity.
Leahy: In studio with us, our good friend, Craig Huey. A California refugee, direct marketing expert, digital marketing expert. I love it when you’re on, Craig. I always learn something new. In this segment, we’re going to talk about the current status of the California recall.
Governor Gavin Newsom is being recalled. There will be an election. The last time they had one, October of 2003, they did recall then-Governor Gray Davis. There are two questions on the ballot. The first question, should you recall the governor? Yes or no? 55 percent in 2003 said yes, recall Gray Davis.
Then the second question, if you vote to remove the governor, who do you pick? And last time, the highest vote getter is the governor. And in that case, it was 48 percent. It was Arnold Schwarzenegger. This time, Newsom, yes or no, that’s going to be very close to 50 percent, I think.
I want to hear what you think about that. And then about 30 people are on the list of opponents, one of whom is transgender Caitlyn Jenner. You were just out in California. What’s the word when this election is going to be and what’s it look like right now?
Huey: Michael, I just got back from California and I got to tell you, the buzz on what’s going on with this recall is huge. The media is covering it. Social media is covering it. People are wondering because so much money is already being spent, mostly from Gavin Newsom.
Leahy: Gavin Newsom.
Leahy: Raising money at the French Laundry exclusive restaurant, I guess. But now to me, I don’t know this, but Gray Davis was a very grey governor. There was nothing compelling about him. Gavin Newsom is not Gray. Gavin Newsom is a compelling personality.
Huey: He’s pretty dramatic.
Leahy: He’s dramatic. I would say he’s a left-wing authoritarian and a hypocrite, but he’s a compelling speaker, I think.
Huey: He is smooth, almost too smooth.
Leahy: Too smooth, too cool for school.
Huey: Remember, he was a left-wing pro-socialist commentator on MSNBC. He is great on TV. He’s great in speaking. He’s great in mobilizing. But here’s the thing, he already has about $35 million in the kitty. He’s expected to raise $100 million of money coming in over the nation because they want to save Gavin Newsom.
Leahy: And you tell me his marketing campaign so far is pretty effective.
Huey: Powerful. He has developed incredibly effective and professional videos, TV commercials, and digital marketing to be able to do several things. One, he’s legally attacking the recall and trying to stop it. Second, he’s trying to get people to take their name off the recall and spending a bundle of money advertising, take your name off.
And then the third thing is he’s doing this anti-demonizing of the opposition which the Democrats always do. And then finally, he’s got these incredible commercials about how he’s about ready to send you $600.
Leahy: Oh, yeah, he’s trying to buy the election.
Huey: He’s buying the election.
Leahy: Literally bribing people to vote for him with California money.
Huey: It’s terrible. 70 percent of the Californians are going to get a check from Gavin Newsom before the recall.
Leahy: Well, it’s legal, I guess.
Huey: It’s legal.
Leahy: Legal corruption. That’s what the Democrats do. There are what, 30 candidates running?
Huey: That’ll probably be closer to maybe 80 or 90.
Leahy: Okay, so you get to the first question. Let’s say you vote yes to recall or no. Even if you vote not recall, you get to vote for the next question. If Gavin Newsom is gone, who do I want as governor? 80 people running. Let’s say 50.1 percent of the voters in California say I want to recall Gavin Newsom. Then whoever has the most votes of those 80 or 90, then will be the winner. How many votes do they need to win?
Huey: Probably they need to have about 45, 48 percent just like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had.
Leahy: Who’s the leading contender now? Is it Caitlyn Jenner?
Huey: Well, yes, but let me tell you about several of the other candidates.
Leahy: We’ve got 30 seconds. I’ll tell you what we’re going to do with that. We’re going to hold on to that thought.
Leahy: And now we want to talk a little bit back to what we were talking about earlier Craig, this recall election in California. It will happen when? In November?
Huey: Probably in November. And it hasn’t been set yet because there are still legal challenges by Governor Newsom to stop it. But it will happen.
Leahy: I don’t think those challenges will go.
Huey: Probably not.
Leahy: Or will succeed, but they’ll be on the ballot. He’s got a lot of money. He is aggressively campaigning, and he’s got some good ads. He’s clever. He presents well even though he’s a left-wing lunatic, authoritarian hypocrite. (Laughs)
Huey: Yes, you’re right.
Leahy: But he presents well. But the way it works is two questions on the ballot, should the governor be recalled? Yes or no? And if it’s 50 percent plus one, he’s recalled.
Huey: That’s right.
Leahy: Then you have 80 or 90 people.
Leahy: And whoever gets the most votes of those 80 or 90 people becomes governor.
Huey: That’s correct.
Leahy: Last time around in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger got, like, 48 percent out of 10 candidates, and he was governor.
Huey: Out of 100 candidates.
Leahy: 100 candidates? Okay. So this time around, can you handicap how the top five or six candidates who want to be governor? And the only one that really people know is Caitlin ‘transgender’ Jenner, right. Caitlin Trans-Jenner I guess you might say. Caitlin is running for governor. And, well, high name recognition kind of odd combination of transgender rights activism and conservative policies.
Huey: It’s a weird blend.
Leahy: It’s a weird California blend. When you say a California blend, most people think of coffee, everything, other kind of stuff being blended. Then you have this John Cox guy. John Cox ran against Newsom in the last election, was wiped out.
Leahy: He’s got some what’s his theme about a bear?
Huey: Because California’s the bear state so he got this live bear walking with him through the forest, which created a lot of buzz.
Leahy: It makes no sense. It’s like he’s branding himself as a guy that makes no sense in my view. It’s really sad.
Huey: And then you got the Liberal Republican Mayor of San Diego.
Leahy: Who’s that guy?
Huey: His name is Kevin Falkner. He will have about five to ten million dollars. John Cox will have about $5 million.
Leahy: How about Caitlyn?
Huey: Caitlyn Jenner, we don’t know how much she’ll have. She’s got the Kardashian fortune. She’s got lots of money from her own show and activities. She’s got money that she could put into this campaign. But remember this: Gavin Newsom right now has about $30,000,000. And he will have $100,000,000 from all over the United States including Democrat Governors Association and others have already given him.
Huey: And so this is going to be the focus the Democrat Party nationwide.
Leahy: Just looking at this motley crew of candidates: Jenner, Cox, Faulkner, none of them seem compelling to me. Is there anybody who is either a current candidate or a potential candidate who might have a chance of being considered a credible alternative to Gavin Newsom?
Huey: There’s a libertarian conservative supervisor from Riverside County. There’s a pastor who is well known in certain areas, but no one else has announced at this point. And there might be some people coming in that we don’t know.
At this point, it’s going to be people without money. Then Caitlyn Jenner, and then you’re going to have Newsom. And Caitlyn Jenner has name identification. They’re all running against porn stars and unknown candidates.
Leahy: It’s California, right?
Huey: Yes. They’re running against all kinds of weirdos – and really good candidates.
Leahy: I mean, it wouldn’t be a California gubernatorial contest unless a porn star was a candidate.
Huey: Exactly. It is drama. And the TV commercials that Newsom is running right now are demonizing the recall supporters. He’s promoting the fact that he’s giving everybody $600. He’s reopened California.
He has distorted truth. He has destroyed the California economy. He has taken away individual liberties. People have had enough, but he’s bribing them with a check signed just before the election.
Huey: The unions dominate California politics. The nurse’s union, the teachers union, and the SEIU. And they have a trained group of people to do ballot harvesting. The Republicans are behind the time.
They’re just now catching up with how to do ballot harvesting. I would have that money go to a candidate who wouldn’t just be running TV commercials the old-fashioned way or sending out direct mail the old-fashioned way.
They put together a marketing campaign to get people out to vote and to identify their voters.
Leahy: So you think $50 million properly spent could beat him?
Huey: Now you don’t have to have more money than Newsom to win. The falsehood that people live by is that if you have good policies, you’re going to win. No. The person who’s able to get the voters mobilized will win. And that could be a Republican.
Next Issue: I’ll give a profile of the candidates and campaign facts most people don’t know.
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