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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KTXL) — Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer formally announced he will run for governor of California, according to his website and a campaign video posted to YouTube.

Faulconer, a vocal critic of Gov. Gavin Newsom, says he will run in 2022. He will run in a potential recall election if that effort gets the needed verified signatures.

Faulconer’s website was updated with a statement from the former mayor.

The 36th mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer is running for governor to restore California’s promise of liberty, equality, and opportunity. He has earned a reputation for returning ethics and integrity to public service and putting people above politics by focusing on the issues that matter to Californians.

Kevin Faulconer
Part of the About page on Kevin Faulconer’s website.

He joins businessman and former gubernatorial candidate John Cox and billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya as potential challengers to Newsom.

Cox’s campaign responded to Faulconer’s announcement, citing critiques of the former Southern California mayor and, in turn, calling Cox “a successful problem solver.”

As mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer’s mismanagement earned him C- and D- grades from his hometown newspaper. Career politicians like Faulconer and Gavin Newsom have kept California in constant ‘crisis mode,’ from shady insider deals to failing on vaccine preparation.

In contrast, John Cox has built a successful career as a problem solver, with the innovative skills to provide Californians with a fresh start.

John Cox for Governor campaign

The governor has faced increasing backlash for his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine distribution, problems at the state’s troubled Employment Development Department and, more recently, his plan to resume in-person instruction at schools.

Teacher unions say they won’t send their members into an unsafe environment. They want all teachers vaccinated before returning to the classroom.

Like elsewhere in the country, many California families have abandoned public schools if they can afford private schools that are running regular classes. Among them is Susan Ortega, a mother of two and a Democrat who voted for Newsom but is so fed up with his handling of the pandemic school situation that she has joined an effort to recall him.

“It’s been horrendous,” she told the Associated Press about distance learning. “These kids have given up hope. They can’t get out of bed. They see no point in anything because there is nothing to strive for.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.