As signatures to recall Governor Newsom passed the threshold, many of us watched in quiet desperation. Great, we got ourselves a recall election. Can we actually succeed in replacing Gavin Newsom with someone else? All sorts of candidates stepped forward, but none looked like they had the campaign to actually unseat him. Meanwhile Newsom, unpopular as he is, is hoping to avert this recall by calling it “The Republican Recall.” He has a point.
A successful political campaign rests on three legs: Money, Message, and Militants. These three facets are like pegs on a stool. You can’t make up for one with more of the other. A candidate needs a message that resonates with all voters, energized volunteers ready to take out his message, and the money to support their efforts.
All candidates, until Kevin Kiley stepped forward, were lacking on at least one of these fronts. Either they were obscure names looking for publicity, or they had lackluster appeal, or zero ability to get a campaign out the gate.
Kevin Kiley is a rising star in the California Republican Party who, while relatively new to the scene, finally has all three facets going for him. In a state desperate for change, he may just pull this off. While I’m withholding an official endorsement for him, I want to explain to people the promise I see in him, and why people need to get in touch with his campaign quickly and vigorously – we only have two months to reach 22 million registered voters.
Message – like many people, Kevin Kiley has a blog and active social media presence. Unlike many people, he stays on message: the corruption of California government. He avoids the more hot button partisan topics. Unlike even more people, he’s an elected assemblyman, which gives him the inside scoop. This has earned him many political followers who look up to him for the latest in California government.
Militants – Within a couple days of declaring his candidacy he has earned the endorsement of Redstate.com. This online journal represents many of the most committed Republicans in the state, who are already flocking to him. His main challenge will be to keep them on message. This is a minor challenge compared to energizing them – something no other candidate has really been able to do.
Money – mock it, but you need it. You need professionals and printers working overtime to get it done. Volunteers aren’t going to be able to do it alone. Other candidates are coming in with more money, either from their own coffers or from donors. Kevin Kiley already managed to raise $200,000 in his first 24 hours. This is actually not that much in a campaign which will probably cost millions. But with the right campaign committee and base of volunteers, one can work wonders. $200,000 is a good starting point for a healthy campaign.
This is also why I’m posting this now. Kiley needs money and volunteers, quickly. The election is September 14, and these next two months will move fast. Any one of these three facets can change for any candidate at any time. Kiley will need to synthesize these three facets into a single campaign as only a winning candidate can do.
But right now, on this day, he is the one candidate who could possibly do it.