San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the 2019 State of the City Address. Photo courtesy of the mayor’s office

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Monday he is launching a gubernatorial exploratory committee, the first step in a potential run for California Governor next year.

Faulconer, who left San Diego City Hall last month after two terms as mayor, made the announcement on Twitter Monday morning and included a link to his new campaign website.

“No better way to ring in the New Year than taking the first step in turning around California,” he said in the tweet.

On Saturday, the Republican former mayor endorsed a statewide effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“It’s a new year. We need a new governor. Jobs are leaving, homelessness is skyrocketing, and the state can’t even issue unemployment checks to people struggling right now to get by. California is better than this. Join me in signing the recall petition,” Faulconer said in a tweet that linked to the recall petition website.

As of Tuesday, the effort to recall Newsom has received 911,000 signatures, according to organizers. The number of valid signatures from California registered voters needed to qualify for the ballot is 1,495,709 by mid-March.

In December, Faulconer was appointed a visiting professor of community leadership and government innovation at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy in Malibu. His service at the school began Friday.

Faulconer will teach a new graduate course, titled “Innovative Local Leadership,” in the school’s state and local policy specialization.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.