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Meet the Candidates: Democrats

Background on the Democratic candidates running to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Mother, business owner, former journalist

Age: 48

City of residence: Fairfax, CA

Key Issues: homelessness, jobs

Campaign Website:

Campaign Statement: “Our collective wealth is found within the health and happiness of each one of us, and within our individual health and happiness is found our collective wealth.”


Party: Democratic

Occupation: College Student

Age: 20

City of Residence: Ventura, CA

Key Issues: environment, education, job creation

Campaign Website:

Campaign Statement: "I think it is time we stop dreaming and start thinking... realistically and with common sense. It's okay to dream, but when we let that get in the way of true progress and realistic change, we set ourselves up for failure."


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Actor/Screenwriter/Producer

Age: 71

City of Residence: Los Angeles

Key Issues: lower taxes, environment, restoration of film industry, education

Campaign Website:

Campaign Statement: "200 films/hit TV shows as lead actor, screenwriter, movie producer, expert in global film finance. Hollywood back to California. Bring film/TV production, eco-sensitive industries—all those jobs back through greater incentives. Elevate our schools by ensuring that funding reaches children’s programs and teachers. Our pre-K to community colleges should be the finest in the country. Lower taxes. Zero tolerance for crime with advanced police training and reform. Eradicate homelessness by providing essential services and employment necessary. Secure borders, equal justice for everyone—path to citizenship with fine for illegal entry. Heal California! United California—We are ONE! Immediate implementation of 25% cash rebate for in-state spending for vetted film/TV media, video games, and photographic projects. Highway expansion at gridlock chokepoints. Federal/State subsidy for eco solar and wind power retrofitting, including Landlord installation subsidies. Creation of large scale work force for fire forestry maintenance, recycling programs, beach clean up/ocean preservation, school, open space and highway beautification. Statewide compliance of single use biodegradable utensils/packaging. Severe fines for industrial polluters. Drought tolerant plant mandates."


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Cannabis consultant

Age: 47

City of Residence: Napa, CA

Key Issues: Housing and homelessness, COVID-19, cannabis

Campaign Website: McGowan for Governor 2021

Campaign Statement: "As a California native and an 18 year Wall Street veteran with 7 years of experience as a cannabis consultant, I am intimately familiar with how politics as usual has botched the roll-out of the regulated cannabis market. Needed jobs and tax revenues from small businesses are slipping out of grasp and the time to act is now. We can and I will facilitate a fair cannabis market with net economic benefits for all Californians, reclaiming our proper role as the epicenter of this global industry of the future. When Sacramento finally began regulating cannabis in 2014 I started tracking policy and building relationships across 482 cities and 58 counties by leading an online policy forum. I understand many of the challenges of our local governments and have effected change in the Capitol despite long odds. Meanwhile, over-regulation and over-taxation have resulted in a hostile business climate that has led to a market dominated by a few winners, often owned by foreign companies. I cannot stand by while small business owners who are my colleagues (and your neighbors) suffer, leading to suicides while promises are unkept and the illicit market thrives. In so many ways, California can do better, which is why now is the time for new leadership. We deserve a robust, thriving and well-regulated cannabis industry, standing proudly beside our innovators and entrepreneurs to which the world looks. We can set California back on the right track."


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Content creator, financial Educator/analyst

Age: 29

City of Residence: Ventura, CA

Key Issues: Taxes, homelessness, education

Campaign Website: Meet Kevin Paffrath for Governor

Campaign Statement: "Our Governor’s policies mislead and trick Californians. Instead of being flush with cash, we’re going into debt, relying on one-off Federal spending packages to bail us out, the Governor’s policies ignore the causes of homelessness, fires, and ignore helping Latinos."



Party: Democratic

Occupation: Small business owner, educator

City of Residence: Orange, CA

Age: 44

Key Issues: Ending COVID-19 restrictions, taxes, fire/drought

Campaign Website: Mando California Governor

Campaign Statement: "To my fellow Californians, this Pandemic has affected each and everyone of us and it's within each of us that together we will get through this. Based on Gov. Newsom's record, he doesn't have any "Real" solutions all he knows how to do are shutdowns & lockdowns of the Economy, Businesses, Schools, churches, along with losing Billions of our Tax Payer dollars to fraud. As we have seen in the past his State-Wide Mandates and Unconstitutional Laws only apply to "US" and not to him, his family, friends, Lobby, and campaign donors, they unfortunately are "ABOVE" the Law that he himself imposes upon us. "


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Cosmetic surgeon, attorney

Age: 49

City of Residence: La Mesa, CA

Key Issues: COVID-19, opioid crisis, affordable housing

Campaign Website: Ross4Gov

Campaign Statement: "California needs a viable, moderate Democrat who understands comebacks to lead the way.  As the pandemic persists, we need someone who knows the medical science and the law.  Mine is a comeback story.  I built myself into a success, got hooked on drugs and lost everything. Then I conquered addiction and rose from the ashes to rebuild everything and more.  I am a native Californian born and raised in San Diego. I went to UC Davis and graduated with Highest Honors with a degree in Genetics.  I attended medical school to become a doctor, while simultaneously attaining my Masters in Public Health and Masters in Business Administration. Next, I established a successful cosmetic surgery center. I had it all, including a family and three kids. Then I lost everything after I got hooked on drugs, which started with an opiate addiction after taking narcotics for a back injury. My career, marriage, finances, friends, and custody of my children- GONE!  I entered a recovery program seven years ago and turned my life around. I graduated law school and rebuilt my medical practice better than before. I regained custody of my kids, have a wonderful family and a fulfilling life. I run a charity that offers free cosmetic surgery to children following trauma and radiation treatments for brain tumors. I live a sober life and will make an excellent governor. If nothing else, I hope to at least be an inspiration to addicts and their families that addiction can be overcome."


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Administrator, safety and security analyst

Age: 69

City of Residence: San Francisco, CA

Key Issues: Healthcare, education, economic equality

Campaign Website: Ventrasca for California Governor 2021

Campaign Statement: "Incorruptible-Independent-Berniecrat-Democrat. "New Transformational Leadership &

Fundamental Change is Coming. For over 25 years as a San Francisco peaceful warrior champion, I fearlessly battled the Most Corrupt Machine in California & America that amassed unprecedented power & wealth, rigged the economic & political system to make the superrich richer, and caused ever-expanding criminal prosecutions. 34 Years of Exceptional Award-winning Public Service: Administrator, Analyst, and Safety Security Risk Expert building the industry-leading City and County of San Francisco International Airport into an economic powerhouse creating 300,000 jobs and $62.5 billion in business sales annually (1987–2018); Department Head Assistant and Aging Specialist, City and County of San Francisco Aging Commission (1981–1984). Prior Impactful Leadership Positions: Democratic Party Runner-up for San Francisco Mayor in 2019; City and County of San Francisco Environmental Commissioner; President, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods; Executive Board Member, SEIU; Nationally-known Successful Community Organizer. Education: Jesuit-educated; Master in Public Administration, University of San Francisco. Media Characterizations: “hero”; “courageous”; “tough”; “principled”; “honest”; “incorruptible”; “liberal”; “progressive”; “left”; “empathetic”; “knowledgeable”. Family: Son of Italian American science teacher & homemaker; Married Asian American immigrant; Related to signers of the Declaration of Independence & Constitution. Platform: Enact universal high quality healthcare & education; Raise minimum wage; Reverse growing economic inequality; End homelessness & poverty; Transition to zero-carbon emissions; Rejuvenate inclusive participatory democracy; Disempower top 1% economic elite; Empower nonviolent mass movements; Create just, livable & flourishing California for all. As a prominent 99% Public Interest Game-changer Democrat, who received 111,000 votes in San Francisco elections, I will govern as America’s most effective progressive governor."


Party: Democratic

Occupation: Free speech attorney

Age: 39

City of Residence: Vista, CA

Key Issues: Free speech, free college

Campaign Website: Facebook - Daniel Watts

Campaign Statement: "I'm a Democrat, a free speech lawyer, and I'm your best backup candidate in case the governor is recalled. I'm not running against Governor Newsom; I'm running to protect Californians' rights to free speech and affordable education. For 15 years, clients have trusted me to protect their First Amendment rights. As a First Amendment attorney, I've litigated anti-SLAPP motions up to the California Supreme Court and back. In fact, I became a lawyer for that very reason: To protect First Amendment rights, especially the rights of students. Here’s the Governor Watts promise: Every public college in California that reviews its student conduct code and eliminates policies that violate the First Amendment should be tuition free. Every public college needs to obey the First Amendment anyway, but those that actually do it immediately will become tuition-free, giving them a competitive advantage over their speech-restrictive brethren. For just one-tenth of this year's budget surplus, every state college could be 100% tuition free. We can do it, and we should do it. That's what I'd do on day one as governor. That's what Governor Newsom should do today."

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