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SAN DIEGO — Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has said he is “seriously considering” challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom in the 2022 election, has signed a petition for the governor’s recall and encouraged his followers to do the same.

“It’s a new year. We need a new governor,” Faulconer, a Republican, said on Twitter. “Jobs are leaving, homelessness is skyrocketing, and the state can’t even issue unemployment checks to people struggling right now to get by.”

Faulconer, who left San Diego City Hall last month after two terms leading the city, included a link to the recall petition with his tweet.

The former mayor started building momentum toward a possible gubernatorial bid during his final months in office, lashing Newsom over his handling of COVID-19 — particularly his approach to restrictions on businesses and a now-infamous trip to the French Laundry that violated the governor’s own health advisories.

In November, he told Capitol Bureau Reporter Ashley Zavala that Newsom’s attendance at that posh dinner party may have been the turning point in his decision to run. “I think it’s been building,” Faulconer said. “The hypocrisy that we saw this obviously touched a nerve for a lot of Californians who are trying to do everything that they can to follow the rules.”

Faulconer has not yet formed an exploratory committee, which would be the first official step to mounting a challenge.

Dan Newman, who represents Newsom in political matters, responded to Faulconer’s comment Saturday: “The Trump train doesn’t want to leave the station, but Kevin Faulconer is all aboard,” he said. “Faulconer proudly voted for Trump, and now they both refuse to accept the will of the voters — because they know they can’t win elections without changing the rules. So after bungling a local pandemic and homeless crisis, Faulconer is joining other Trump supporters who want taxpayers to waste $100 million on a special election redo, mere months before a regularly scheduled election.”

The new San Diego mayor, Democrat Todd Gloria, who was sworn-in Dec. 10, did not immediately comment on Faulconer joining the recall movement.

Newsom’s Republican opponent in the 2018 election, Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, is closely aligned with the recall effort shared by Faulconer. His name appears at the bottom of the petition’s website as a major funding source.