The Richard Nixon Foundation announced Thursday that Elder would join the debate with former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and former Rep. Doug Ose at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.
Campaign spokesperson Ying Ma said in an email to Times of San Diego that Elder has a pre-existing commitment to attend a fundraiser in Bakersfield organized by state Sen. Shannon Grove, former leader of the Senate Republican Caucus.
“Additionally, this is a recall election, not a primary election for Republicans. It makes no sense to have a circular firing squad among GOP contenders, where the only one who benefits is Gavin Newsom,” Ma said.
She said Elder would be “happy to debate” Newsom on the “real issues in this campaign,” which she said are crime, homelessness, living costs and the pandemic lockdown.
The Sept. 14 recall election ballot includes just two questions. The first requires a yes or no answer: Do you want to recall Newsom? On the second question, voters can pick one of 46 candidates to replace him.
Unless a majority votes “yes” on the first, the second doesn’t matter, but will show who has the most support heading into the 2022 regular election for governor.