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Democrat Paffrath Stands Apart From Crowded GOP Field in Newsom Recall Election

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom kicked off his "Vote No" campaign in San Francisco Friday just one month before the recall election.

Newsom is expected to go on a four-day tour of the state, including stops in San Diego and Los Angeles.

"Just vote no and go to the mailbox and get these ballots back," Newsom said during a news conference Friday. "This election started this week."

A group of his supporters rallied behind him singing "just vote no, just vote no, just vote no."

"Today, the polls show that this race is neck-and-neck and, if Democrats don't turn out, we are going to have a Republican governor in a couple weeks," said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco).

Newsom's top GOP recall challenger is conservative radio host Larry Elder who announced Friday he would undo all of Newsom's vaccine and mask mandates if he were to become the state's leader.

Elder was the one opponent Newsom mentioned Friday afternoon.

"Larry Elder is running away with this on the other side," Newsom said. "He's to the right of Donald Trump."

Kevin Paffrath
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kevin Paffrath. (CBS)

But Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kevin Paffrath, a Ventura real estate investor with quite a following on YouTube, is determined to make his way into the spotlight among the long list of challengers.

He hit the campaign trail in Northern California.

Paffrath said he's the governor's real threat and not Elder.

"In the latest SurveyUSA in San Diego Tribune poll, we're beating Larry Elder by about four percentage points," Paffrath said. "The reason we think Gavin Newsom doesn't want to mention that a Democrat is actually beating all of the other recall candidates is because Gavin Newsom wants to paint this as a Republican recall. The reality is this is a California recall."

Paffrath said that if voters elected him as governor, he would focus on issues such as wildfires, water shortages, housing and the homeless crisis.

Newsom, however, has made it clear he's not going down without a fight.

"Not only have we had better health outcomes in the last 18 months, we had better economic outcomes," Newsom said. "Our economy contracted at a much lower rate than Texas and Florida and Indiana and the United States as a whole because we lead with science and facts. All of that is at risk."

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