SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the historic Guild Theater, the second recall debate was anything but aged. All of the topics discussed were the same as the first debate held just two weeks ago, such as homelessness, the economy, COVID response, and wildfires, but several responses were worthy of their own headlines.
In the first debate, only former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer explicitly said he was vaccinated. On Tuesday, businessman John Cox said his entire family was vaccinated and Assemblymember Kevin Kiley said he was too.
All three men on stage said they believe in climate change, but blamed Governor Gavin Newsom for what they called forest mismanagement.
"Climate change is a contributing factor," Kiley said "but by no means the primary cause."
Questions followed on the economy and what the three men on stage thought about conservative talk show host Larry Elder's proposed zero dollar minimum wage.
"I sure wish Larry were here to defend that position," Cox said "and he should be." Cox added that the cost of living is outrageous, but didn't explicitly say what his beliefs were on the minimum wage.
Faulconer used the question as an opportunity to attack Elder on his comments about women. Faulconer called them "indefensible."
"When he said that women 'know less than men,' that they are easier to 'manipulate,' and that he believes that it is OK to discriminate against women, including pregnant women in the workplace, is bull****."
In an interview after the debate, Faulconer said, "I'm also going to call out when I think that something is wrong."
"That's not what you want to have a governor doing or talking about, so I feel strongly about that," he said.
In closing statements, Kiley made a plea to all democrats and independents still on the fence about the recall saying this is not a four-year deal.
"Maybe you're reluctant to cross party lines," Kiley said, "then the recall is for you."
"You're signing on for one year," he said. "So take a chance on change, see if things improve, and if not, you can always vote to return to the way things were in next year's election."
There was a moment at the very beginning of the debate when Cox first started speaking that grabbed everyone's attention. Cox was interrupted by a shouting man saying he was being served with a court-ordered subpoena from San Diego County.
The LA times reported that it is related to unpaid consulting fees from when Cox ran for governor in 2018.
One man missing from the stage tonight was former Congressman Doug Ose. He announced earlier today that he suffered a heart attack over the weekend and dropped out of the race.
Larry Elder, Caitlyn Jenner, and Gavin Newsom himself all either ignored or declined to participate.