The Forgotten CA Candidates in the Recall Gavin Newsom Election

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Mike Netter, the lead proponent of Recall Gavin 2020, said this in the early days of the Recall effort:

The success of this Recall will trigger and open a conversation on how California should be run.


The Recall campaign has reached that success, and now Californians are having that conversation — or we should be.

Many Californians have no clue that we already have a full slate of candidates to run against Governor Gavin Newsom, once the Recall election date is established. Some officially filed their paperwork for 2022, when Newsom’s first term would have been completed. Others have specifically filed for the 2021 Recall election.

While a few of these candidates could be classified as political gadflies, many are individuals with solid backgrounds, business and community experience, and plausible platforms. In other words, they do not embody the clown car of sexual and celebrity excess, they are not wealthy businessmen who can spend $2 million on ad buys, nor are they dyed-in-the-wool Democrat politicians masquerading as Republicans.

Many are generational Californians, and all are people embedded in their communities. Two are biological females. Some are currently serving a role in government; others have previously held public office. Most distinctly, they are engaged citizens who are fed up with the state of the State, and wish to be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem. I cannot say the same for the majority of our current crop of California elected officials.

But, these individuals are being passed over by much of legacy and local media, which I feel is a disservice to this electoral process. Coverage of these candidates could not only expand their name recognition (or establish it), but it would allow Californians to give them all a proper look.

Sadly, the oxygen is being sucked out of the room by Caitlyn Jenner, with a bit of rare air given to John Cox. Ratings and clicks will always trump supplying solid information so that people can actually deliberate and decide. Too many in this State love the circus, especially when it has ex-porn stars, a former Olympic decathlete turned transgender reality TV star, and a 1,000-pound brown bear.

These are in no particular order, and it is certainly not an exhaustive list. From the least, to the lesser-known, here’s who is running:

William “Bradley” Zink

On May 13, 2020, Bradley Zink posted his intention paperwork to run for California Governor on Facebook. Zink registered under the No Party Preference category, which essentially is our state’s “Independent” box. Aside from his Facebook page, there is very little campaign information on him.

“….that government OF the people, by the people, for the PEOPLE, shall not perish from the earth”

With “politics” overrun by career politicians and the wealthy elite, who are far from “of the people”, it’s time for action. It’s time for uniting. It’s time to elect someone truly “of the people “.

The two-party system was instituted so no 1 party would hold all the power. It was intended to keep the people united. In turn, it divides us into party “followers”, thus keeping us from uniting together under one voice.

When you see the division amongst these party candidates, attacking their “own”, whose interests are truly being addressed.

It’s time, California, to come Together under one voice, one interest…the prosperity for ALL of us in our Golden State!

They say, the one with all the gold makes the rules….Together we HOLD ALL OF THE GOLD!


According to his LinkedIn profile, Zink is a children’s book author who also ran for San Marcos mayor in 2018. That year seems to be the last time he was on Twitter.

Explains much.

Major Williams

Major Williams is a registered Republican, who has built a strong grassroots campaign, primarily through Facebook and Instagram. Williams first ran for mayor of Pasadena in 2020. He did not proceed past the primary, and soon after that began his exploratory committee for Governor. Williams declared early, in January of 2021.

From his campaign website’s About page:

“We need someone in office that thinks differently in order to solve complex issues. As we run this campaign, it is our goal to educate the public on the depth of policy that has been passed so that they may see for themselves all of the details and caveats which have slowly eroded our autonomy and freedom as individuals. We will make policy with the best interests of the public in mind and not pander to the big pharma and other industries that now have their hands in the pockets of our politicians.”

As a successful entrepreneur, Major has the ability to effectively reform our institutions, create jobs, and make California a better place to live.

“I have the unique ability to walk into a room of a variety of ethnicities and political party affiliations and gain consensus through conversation.”

Under his leadership, Major Williams will bridge the divide between Californians, guide them to the right path, and usher the State to a new bright future.

I actually met Major Williams a few times when I covered the Pasadena mayor’s race. While he is an engaging and charismatic individual, his mayoral campaign was lackluster, at best. Though Williams has a heavy social media presence, and has been making the radio, alternative media, and new media rounds, his policy points are vague and difficult to pin down.

CA Underground has done a good job in digging into this candidate, and has pointed out some inconsistencies with his background, his associations, and questions regarding his finances. The podcast episode is informative, thought-provoking, and eye-opening.

Give it a listen, here.

Mike Grover Coltharp II

Registered as a Republican, Mike Grover Coltharp II is a life insurance consultant and a former police officer. Coltharp offers a robust platform that includes restoring citizen’s powers; building infrastructure, including roads, levees, and dams; government accountability; small business support; and homelessness.

Coltharp gave an informative speech on January 6 at the Sacramento State Capitol, where he spoke about bringing Constitutional governance back to the people and solving the homelessness crisis.

Dakota K. Vaughn

A business owner with a background in the construction industry, Vaughn announced his candidacy in October of 2020. Vaughn’s platform involves education and educators, affordable housing, judicial reform, and redesigning the police, and homelessness.

Vaughn sat down with Cameron Sadeghi for his Happs podcast, to discuss his candidacy and platform. With the present climate in California, and the fact that less than 10 percent of our students are back in school, Vaughn’s push for better teacher pay may well be a non-starter with his candidacy. Hopefully he’s read the room and made some adjustments.

Adriel Hampton

Adriel Hampton is an independent socialist, which would seem like an oxymoron. But, he appeared on CNN International, and confirmed as much.

Hampton’s main platform point is to End Poverty, which would make him a modern-day Lyndon B. Johnson. As his campaign website policies indicate, Hampton is pro-choice, anti-gun, for solving climate change, taxing the rich, and champions an increase in the federal minimum wage. Basically, the entire wish list of socialist progressives is listed as his campaign issues.

From his “Why I’m Running” section of the campaign website:

I am running as a No Party Preference candidate, extremely proud to operate outside the partisan duopoly.  More importantly I am running as a Socialist. This label should be less alarming than the fact that until 2021 there were zero socialists in the California state legislature – while Capitalism is proved harmful to our state by the poverty in our State. We all inherently believe we all can achieve greater, be it luck, or hard work and opportunity, while some place our support behind systems which is designed for the recognition and protection of our humanity; it’s time we have a government dedicated to helping us achieve that and improving our material conditions.  This is #OurCalifornia.  Our programs and policies are only interested in investing in #OurCalifornia, building sustainable, resilient communities and economies to do and be better for us all.

So basically, he’s a low-rent version of Newsom.

Daniel Mercuri

Daniel is a Navy veteran, CEO of his own independent production company, and partner in a private investment company. Mercuri ran as a Republican in the CD-25 Special Election to replace Katie Hill. The same seat that was won by Republican Mike Garcia.

Mercuri has a regular podcast called Defy the Lie, where he discusses local, state, and national issues.


Erroll Webber

Webber is a documentary filmmaker, and has actually won an Academy Award for his short film, Music by Prudence. Webber ran against Rep. Karen Bass for the CD-37 seat. Bass retained her seat, and Webber decided in December of 2020 to make a run for governor.

According to the Post Millennial:

Webber said he is running because Newsom and the Democrat-controlled state legislature have become comfortable with causing problems for California. He hopes to unify Democrats and Republicans to find a clear path forward and improve people’s quality of life.

His policies consist of creating legislation to expand new economic opportunities, cutting taxes and red tape for small businesses, making health care more affordable, and improving the American government’s national security initiatives and immigration system.

Jeff Hewitt

Riverside County Board of Supervisors Jeff Hewitt did an op-ed outlining his reasons for running as a Libertarian in the Recall election.

From the Daily News:

The reason I am entering the race for governor in the recall election is that this state no longer accommodates dreams, fosters ideas or solves problems. Instead, the state seems to grow more restrictive and punitive to individuals who want to make this state a better place to live through hard work and innovation.

The pandemic has helped to expose several deficiencies in our state that will loom even larger in the immediate future.

The arbitrary and capricious criteria to designate what is and isn’t an “essential” business has been incredibly damaging.

As a county supervisor I watched as Sacramento unilaterally shorted my county on COVID-19 vaccines in the early months of their rollout. This playing of favorites showed that the state government was not capable of fairness and equality and put my constituents at an increased risk.

As the pandemic winds down, it is so important that all of the people of California are represented, not just those who are friends of those in power.

There are many serious challenges facing our state, many with common sense solutions and yet the status quo is failing on every one of them.


Hewitt has been a staunch critic of Governor Newsom, even before the lockdowns of the 2020 pandemic. Hewitt was one of the organizers for the Re-Open Cal Now Conference back in January, in defiance of the State health orders which restricted gatherings of 10 or more people.

The County of Riverside recently settled a claim of sexual harassment against Hewitt, to the tune of $50,000.

Nickolas Wildstar

Nickolas Wildstar has been a perennial candidate for many years, who most recently ran for mayor of San Jose. When he is not campaigning for public office, Wildstar works as a political activist and a musician. Wildstar expressed issue with the lack of attention he received from the Libertarian party when he was the candidate for that ticket in 2018. He also cast shade on the Reason magazine puff piece that touted Riverside BOS Jeff Hewitt’s recent announcement.

As you can see, Wildstar has no problem playing identity politics.

Wildstar’s website is all over the place, as he has his hands in many endeavors and causes. Wildstar has chosen his Twitter as the place to define his campaign talking points:

Laura Smith

Laura Smith’s campaign site asks, “Are you going to let California burn in the dark? Be part of the solution.”

Smith earned five professional Business degrees, and is currently working towards a Law degree. Smith has been working her tail off since she was 14. According to her campaign bio, she worked two jobs while completing high school. Now, at the very young age of 40, she continues that work ethic toward a gubernatorial run.

Smith’s website states that she,

“has always been passionate about and driven by proactive endeavors in legal and political subject matters.”


Smith is running as a Republican on a platform of crime, education, government corruption, homelessness, infrastructure, veterans, and jobs. She promises

“to purge the corruption of the political regime polluting and destroying the people’s way of life in California.”

Sam Gallucci

Sam Gallucci is a tech executive turned pastor. Gallucci is senior pastor at Embrace! Church in Oxnard, CA. He is also Founder and CEO of The Kingdom Center, which provides emergency shelter and transitional living assistance for at-risk women and children, and Embrace! Ministries, which helps migrant field workers and their families.

Gallucci’s campaign video is quite compelling—frankly, just as compelling as Caitlyn Jenner’s. So why doesn’t his get any press?

Doug Ose

Former Republican Congressman (CD-3) Doug Ose is once again putting his hat in the ring for public office. He had a brief run for governor in 2018, but did not make it past the primary. Ose is a multi-millionaire real estate developer, so he has an advantage of both business acumen as well as actual policy experience.

From his campaign website:

Doug Ose is the opposite of the career politicians, he’s a California businessman and former Member of Congress who is independent of the special interests that dominate our state. Ose will have the resources necessary to communicate with voters and build a winning plurality of Republicans, Independents and disaffected Democrats.

Beyond a few appearances on local stations and scant write ups, Ose hasn’t communicated very well, because very few people are even aware that he is running.

Time to step up his game.

Jenny Rae Le Roux

Jenny Rae Le Roux’s campaign website is thin on specifics, but her campaign video is another one that should get more attention.

From Le Roux’s LinkedIn Profile:

Jenny Rae is an accomplished business owner, author, and strategic advisor with a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

After launching her career advising companies and government organizations at Bain, she co-built tech companies in the energy and financial services industries before purchasing Management Consulted, a private tech-enabled services company.


One year ago, she said, “Someone should do something.” She modeled her own COVID plan using publicly available data, and hosted conversations about the future of public policy. After meeting with groups around California, she recognized major gaps in both policy and process. Jenny Rae is a pro-business fiscal conservative and social moderate.

The fact that Le Roux created her own COVID plan is impressive, and ahead of the curve, particularly in light of Newsom’s own incompetence.

Tim Herode

The combination of “pastor” and “technology professional” seems to be a thread in this Governor Recall race, because like Sam Gallucci, Tim Herode is also a pastor, as well as a tech guy. Herode gets major points for the clarity of his website, and the clarity of his talking points. Herode promises integrity, transparency, and accountability; three things which are sorely lacking in our current governance:


I am not a politician, rather a hard-working businessman, devoted Husband and Father. I have witnessed career politicians who serve themselves rather than, We the People which has devastated Californians. They totally ignore the state’s constitution and legislative process by using emergency powers to set forth laws with no oversight. Then, after receiving millions of federal dollars over the years, they never resolve a single problem. Wildfires are destructive, as we have seen, but the underlying political corruption in this state is even deadlier because you can’t see what’s coming until it’s already happened. Now, even some Democrats are starting to wake up and notice.

As a pastor, he lives up to being a compelling public speaker. You can listen to him talk about his campaign and platform here.


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