By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Former Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer formally announced his gubernatorial campaign Tuesday morning in San Pedro.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks in San Pedro, Calif., as he announces a gubernatorial run. Feb. 2, 2021. (CBSLA)

Faulconer is the first major Republican to step into the 2022 California governor’s race. He served as mayor of San Diego from 2014 to 2020. Prior to that, he was on the San Diego City Council for eight years.

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“Every day is Groundhog Day in California, we’ve been electing the same failed leaders with the same failed ideas election after election,” Faulconer said in a news conference at Cabrillo Avenue Elementary School. “It’s time to throw out that same tired script.”

This comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing ongoing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of a special recall election this summer.

Faulconer, a moderate Republican, had released a video Monday in which he said that California has become a failed state under Newsom, and accused him of struggling to address the coronavirus crisis or deal with issues such as homelessness.

“He’s failed us, year after year, wasting billions, turning his back on millions. Governor, letting people live on the streets, isn’t compassion,” Faulconer said in the video.

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Faulconer Tuesday took aim at Newsom for shutting down outdoor dining at restaurants across Southern California during the nearly two-month-long regional stay-at-home order that was just lifted last week.

“We have to have a process that is based on science,” Faulconer told reporters. “That is not what we have seen. Case in point: shutting down outdoor dining with absolutely no science behind that it contributed to the spread of outdoor transmission.”

Newsom is facing a major recall effort. To qualify for a special election, organizers will need 1.5 million verified signatures by March 17. They currently have about 1.3 million. The special election would be held 60 to 80 days after the votes are verified, according to CBS News.

If it does indeed qualify, voters will be asked two questions in November. One asking whether Newsom should be recalled and a second asking to choose his replacement in the event the recall passes.

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