VISALIA — The recall effort aimed at Gov. Gavin Newsom has thrust a number of potential candidates into the spotlight, but Republicans and Democrats aren’t the only ones in the race.
The Libertarian Party of California convened at the Visalia Marriott Convention Center May 14-16 to handle official business and rally together for the recall. And while contenders like Olympic athlete and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 candidate John Cox have garnered considerable attention, the Libertarian candidate — Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt — said Saturday isn’t someone who’s so easily written off.
“The governor knows who I am — he does not like me,” Hewitt said, explaining what ultimately led him to run. “He was killing people in my county because we needed those (doses) early on, especially for the people over 85 years old. Their chance of dying is just so many more times than anybody else regardless of occupation.”
Also attending the convention as the keynote speaker was Wyoming state Rep. Marshall Burt, currently the party's highest elected official. During his speech and questionnaire, he discussed what it meant to legislate as a Libertarian and how third party candidates can be seen as viable.
“Well first off, I would tell them that I am living proof that it’s not a throw-away vote,” Burt said. “Anyone that tells you that if you vote third party you throw away your vote, they’re telling you that your vote doesn’t matter and they don’t respect your vote. It’s your vote — you can send it wherever you want.”
Burt defeated 14-year Democratic incumbent Stan Blake in the last election.
Also hoping to express his viability, Hewitt said the Libertarian party is unhindered by an attachment to Trump, which is a liability to Republicans. He’s also fluent in Spanish, which gives him access to nearly half of all Californians that other candidates may not have. Finally, he added, he fought to open businesses and get drive-up church services allowed, winning him points with conservatives and evangelicals alike.
Hanford Mayor Francisco Ramirez and City Councilmember Kalish Morrow were listed as speakers for the event. Neither could be reached for comment as of press time.