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GOP candidates bash Newsom on every topic at first recall debate

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YORBA LINDA, Calif. — After months of skewering California Gov. Gavin Newsom on everything from Covid-19 response to homelessness, a quartet of Republican gubernatorial hopefuls formally made their case Wednesday to oust him from office at their first televised recall debate.

The four candidates — former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, former Rep. Doug Ose, and businessman John Cox — bashed Newsom over Covid mandates, crime and housing costs. But they notably left unscathed the leading GOP contender, talk show host Larry Elder, who did not appear because he said he was obligated to attend a fundraiser Wednesday night.

The 90-minute event at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, hosted by Fox LA, allowed the four candidates to go toe-to-toe for the first time. With less than six weeks remaining until the Sept. 14 recall election, polls show the race is tight enough that Newsom could be ousted if he doesn't convince enough Democrats to vote.

Faulconer, the former San Diego mayor who was a frontrunner before Elder entered the race in July, focused on two issues where polls suggest Newsom may be vulnerable: crime and homelessness.

"Every California family deserves to be safe, feel safe and have a safe neighborhood. That is not a reality under Gavin Newsom’s California," Faulconer said. "We have a governor who won’t talk about it ... who supports the defunding the police movement."

Faulconer, who has made his city’s response to homelessness a linchpin of his campaign, said his own record on that issue "made a real difference in the quality of life of our city."

But it was Ose, a farmer and former........

© Politico

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