California’s gubernatorial recall election is just three weeks away, and 46 hopefuls are vying to snag Governor Gavin Newsom’s spot should enough people vote “Yes” on the first ballot question.
You’ve likely heard the names of several candidates, like hyper-conservative radio host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, YouTube influencer Kevin Paffrath, and gold medalist turned reality T.V. star Caitlyn Jenner, who’ve dominated the headlines—but what about the other 40 contenders who’ll appear on the recall election ballot?
Among the candidates getting less ink is one whose claim to fame is appearing on billboards throughout Los Angeles, a 20-year-old college student, and another who decided to run in order to “bring God back into our governing process to restore the greatness of the state of California.”
Some of these recall election contenders say they’ll tackle serious issues if elected, while others appear to be running just for kicks. But with the crucial election coming up on September 14, we figured we’d take a closer look at some of the more colorful characters on the ballot. We scoured the California Voter Guide and rounded up candidates who stood out from the rest of a crowded field in an election that’s been described as a “circus.” Even if they don’t win the election, they’ve won these superlatives.
Most Likely to Come Home With a New Puppy Every Weekend: Dan Kapelovitz
Dan Kapelovitz poses a simple yet poignant question in to prospective voters: “Can you dig it?” But it’s necessary to look beyond these four words and his wide-framed goggles to understand his platform, which he’s laid out on his website.
The animal and civil rights attorney, who is one of two Green Party candidates on the ballot, says he has the independence to improve California’s politics and the experience to protect the state “from Trumplicans who want to change it for the worse.” He’s also one of the few candidates who is campaigning for Californians to “‘vote ‘no’ on the recall.” He explained to Jewish News of Northern California that he supports Newsom but has issues with how the California Democratic Party is putting all its eggs in Newsom’s basket.
Given the circumstances, Kapelovitz has decided to run because he says he’s the only “broad progressive left who can win and govern effectively.”
He’s hoping others will, in fact, dig it.
Most Likely to Paint the Capitol Pink: Angelyne
There’s no one more fabulous on the recall election ballot than the one and only Angelyne. The Los Angeles billboard queen’s platform includes a mandatory bubble-bath day, the cancelation of daylight-saving time and jury duty, decriminalization of sex work, and the release of convicts with marijuana charges.
In her campaign trailer, Angelyne holds her adorable puppy, Buddha, while she speaks in a baby voice saying, “Will you vote for us? We promise we’ll be really good.” She’s also selling merchandise that’s very on brand.
We can just picture her now, pulling up to political gatherings in her bright pink corvette, while she’s garbed in a form-fitting, all pink ensemble looking, well, fabulous. It’s her second time running for the coveted seat—she first ran in 2003 when Gray Davis was recalled—so we’ll see if she takes the “W” this year.
Most Likely to Give Random Strangers Compliments on the Street: Adam Papagan
Next to Adam Papagan’s photo in the voting guide are two words: “Love U.” In a time when it can be difficult to distract yourself from the negative events going on around the world, it’s nice to have a presumably compassionate candidate bring joy to a largely dull ballot.
But if it were up to Papagan, he would’ve shared a few more words. According to him, candidates have to pay $25 a word for their candidate statements, which appear on the voting ballot, so he opted to keep it short and sweet.
Most Likely to Become a Social Media Influencer Once This Is All Over: John R. Drake
As of Tuesday, John R. Drake—who’s the youngest candidate on the ballot—had only five photos and videos on his Instagram page. But we can assure you that this 20-year-old Cal Poly student knows how to work social media.
He has already mastered the skill of respectfully clapping back to haters in his Instagram comments, and he’s one of the few candidates who is selling merchandise on his campaign website. (He already has plans for his 2022 gear.)
One of the T-shirts that he’s selling includes a photo of his face with what appears to be a cat face mask and feline ears. The T-shirt says “Drake for Governor of California: Submissive and Breedable.” In response, a TikTok user posted a video posing the question, “What is this shirt, Drake?” It’s gotten more than 100,000 views on the platform. Drake clearly knows how to get the people talking.
So yeah, Drake, who’s platform includes affordable housing, education, and healthcare, might not have much content or a significant following on his Instagram yet, but by the end of the gubernatorial race, we think he’ll gain more popularity. (Watch out, Kevin Paffrath.)
Most Likely to Describe Himself as a “Man of the People”: Jeremiah “Jerry” Marciniak
Next to Jeremiah “Jerry” Marciniak’s photo on the ballot are the words: “Search YouTube,” so that’s what we did. On his channel, where he has about 20 subscribers, there’s a one-minute campaign trailer and several videos of him answering questions on various topics from the public on the recall election.
In the comment section of his campaign ad, Marciniak says that he’d been criticized for the quality of the video—which he funded himself—and for only including two words in the voter guide. But like Papagan, he opted to spend less because of the $25-a-word fee. He also says that it’s against his morals to take campaign donations because being a “civic servant means giving your time as a duty to the people.”
He’s encouraging voters to opt for a “regular citizen” versus a member of the political elite.
Most Likely to Kiss Babies on the Campaign Trail (Pre-COVID, Of Course): Denis Lucey
Denis Lucey, who according to his LinkedIn profile has been a teacher in Santa Rosa for about three years, used his voting ballot block to share a heartfelt story.
He says that one of his “distraught kindergarten” students came crying to him saying one day, “I love my mommy, I love my daddy, why can’t I love them equally by living half of the time with each?” Apparently, the student was referring to the “50 50 Child Custody” arrangement prescribed in the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, he explains.
We’re not too certain what other issues Lucey plans to tackle if he’s voted into office, but at least we’ll know that there’s someone looking out for the youth.
Most Likely to Not Be a Stoner: Denver Stoner
Denver Stoner, who didn’t submit a photograph for the voter guide, says that there’s a “serious lack of moral character and servant leadership among government officials today,” therefore it’s “time to bring God back into our governing process to restore the greatness of the state of California.”
The Republican candidate, who is a Golden State native and conservative Christian, says he believes that he can carry out the “God-given duty of Governor” to effect positive change.
He told the San Diego Tribune that he does not believe COVID vaccinations should be mandated and wearing a mask should be optional; he thinks homelessness needs to be dealt with at the “local, nonprofit level, not at the state level;” and that he plans to work with environmental scientists to identify a multi-point attack to address the state’s climate challenges.
Although his name hilariously suggests it, we get the idea that Stoner is not the type to puff and pass.
Most Likely to Star in a Sitcom Based on California Politics: Patrick Kilpatrick
You couldn’t make up a better name than Patrick Kilpatrick—or can you?
Kilpatrick is an actor, writer, and producer who has credits on at least 200 T.V. shows and films according to his IMDB page. He’s worked with the likes of Tom Cruise in the 2002-film Minority Report, Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1996-movie Eraser. Now, the Hollywood veteran and business owner is hoping to bring his talents to Sacramento.
Among his extensive list of priorities includes lowering taxes, elevating California’s education system, and eradicating homelessness by providing essential services and employment. Kilpatrick, who is listed as a Democrat, also plans to bring Hollywood back to California by creating greater incentives for jobs in film and TV production.
“This isn’t about political parties,” his website reads. “This is about authentic people getting things done!”
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