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California Gov hopeful Faulconer sues over ballot designation, accuses Dems of hiding information

First on Fox: Republican California gubernatorial candidate Kevin Faulconer’s team Tuesday accused state Democrats of attempting to “hide important ballot information” after California Secretary of State Shirley Weber blocked use of his preferred ballot designation in the upcoming recall election.

Faulconer sued Weber this week, alleging her office “unlawfully rejected” his request to be referred to as “retired San Diego mayor” in California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election on Sept. 14. Faulconer’s legal team asked a superior court judge to overturn Weber’s decision before her office sends a list of certified candidates to county elections officials on Wednesday.

“Clearly Gavin Newsom and his allies are sweating bullets about our campaign,” Faulconer campaign communications director John Burke said in a statement. “The California Democrat Party knows Mayor Faulconer is the biggest threat to ending one-party rule in Sacramento. Change is coming to California, and these partisan attempts to hide important ballot information from voters won’t save Newsom from being recalled.” 

Faulconer served as mayor of San Diego from 2014 until 2020. His lawsuit argues that “retired San Diego mayor” is the “most accurate description of Mr. Faulconer’s most recent occupation” and notes that state elections code only prohibits use of the word “former.”

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The lawsuit says Weber’s office informed Faulconer of the decision last Friday, citing a regulation barring use of the word “retired” except in cases of “voluntary retirement from public office.” Faulconer’s attorneys say Weber misinterpreted the regulation.

The secretary of state’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

In an amicus brief backing Weber’s decision, Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party, argued Faulconer should not be referred to as “retired San Diego mayor” because he has continued to work as a government adviser and college professor since leaving office.

“Although Mr. Faulconer doesn’t want to use his current professions on his official ballot designation when he runs as a replacement candidate in the gubernatorial recall election and instead wants to refer to his former position as Mayor of San Diego, the State’s elections law and related regulations could not be more clear,” Hicks said.

Faulconer isn’t the only gubernatorial candidate suing over his ballot designation. Another candidate, YouTube influencer Kevin Paffrath, sued Weber’s office after it rejected his bid to go by the name “Meet Kevin” on the ballot.

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Faulconer is one of dozens of candidates running to replace Newsom, who has faced criticism over his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic. State residents will vote on whether to recall Newsom and, if that vote passes, who should replace him as governor.

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.