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Newsom GOP Challenger Faulconer Brings Longshot Bid For Governor To San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Amid the furor over the San Francisco School Board's handling of the pandemic, and several non-pandemic related controversies, the man hoping to unseat California Governor Gavin Newsom made a stop in the city Wednesday.

Public schools should be open, not just here in San Francisco, but across our great state," said Republican Kevin Faulconer. "That's my very clear message."

The former San Diego mayor brought his campaign for governor to San Francisco's Abraham Lincoln High School Wednesday, a nod to the storm surrounding the school's renaming, but he spoke mostly about school reopening.

"It's a direct failure of the governor's office not to get public schools open in California," Faulconer said, laying the issue squarely at the feet of Newsom.

There is certainly frustration among parents across California, but Faulconer's effort to capitalize on it might prove complicated.

"I'm not surprised that people are trying to score political points by standing in front of Abraham Lincoln [High School] and what not," said Seeyew Mo, Executive Director of Families For San Francisco.

Mo's PAC is a group of residents frustrated with the slow pace of school reopenings, but they're not blaming the governor.

"Our concern, really, and this is a concern shared by diverse families, is how our school is going about its business," said Mo. "And its priorities and their performance so far."

Faulconer does have a pitch beyond schools, including Newsom's overall handling of the pandemic and the state's economy.

"One party rule is not working in Sacramento," said Faulconer during his campaign event. "It's time for a competition of ideas, and that's exactly what I'm going to offer."

"I have no idea, nor does anybody else whether or not they're going to admit it, how this is going to unfold," said longtime Democratic political strategist Darry Sragow. "It's just way too many unknowns."

Sragow says while the reall is difficult to forecast, the state's basic political math is still quite simple.

"When you look at voter registration and voter behavior in California, the odds of electing a Republican governor are very low,"  said Sragow says. "They just are, statistically. That's not an opinion, that's a fact."


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