By Genoa Barrow | Observer Senior Staff Writer

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder has filed suit in the Superior Court of Sacramento this week, taking legal action to ensure that his name is added to the list of official candidates in California’s gubernatorial recall election on September 14.

Elder’s name was not among the 41 certified candidates announced by the Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber on Sunday. His team says they were told it was due to “redaction issues” with his income tax returns. Elder called the action “shenanigans” designed to keep him from beating Gov. Gavin Newsom. Elections Code requires gubernatorial candidates to disclose five years of redacted tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service. They must also submit 7,000 signatures and pay a $4,200 fee. 

“Our lawyers tell us that no candidate has ever been previously disqualified due to redaction issues with income tax returns,” Elder said in an online statement.

“The Secretary of State is either saying that we did not redact sufficient info on my returns, or we redacted info that should not have been redacted. The Secretary of State could have made the supposedly required redaction(s), but elected not to,” he continued.

Elder, who announced his candidacy on July 12, says he’s still “trying to ascertain the details,” but says that whatever the issue is, it shouldn’t keep him off the ballot.

“Our campaign filed every piece of paper required by the Secretary of State in a timely fashion…this also violates the equal protection clause of Art. I, § 7, of the California Constitution not to require Governor Gavin Newsom to comply with the same tax return disclosure requirement. If the Secretary of State’s decision is not reversed, we will see them in court.,” he said in the statement.

Prior to the setback, Elder spoke to The Sacramento OBSERVER in front of the State Capitol last Thursday, outlining the reason he’s running and his vision for California post-COVID and post-Newsom. 

“The arrogance of Gavin Newsom was crystalized by the way he handled this pandemic,” said the Republican hopeful.

“This man has presided over the most severe coronavirus lockdown in all 50 states. People lost their jobs, people lost their livelihoods, meanwhile his own private business kept open and his own kids remained in in-person private schools,” he continued. 

Many have maintained that the recall election is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

“This is a state of emergency,” Elder said.

“This is a perfect storm–crime, homelessness, declining school standards, the rising price of homes and the way this guy has shut down the economy, causing thousands of people to lose their small businesses. This is an intervention.”

Elder says as a rule, he’s not in favor of recalls or impeachments. 

“But when someone has become so outrageous, sometimes something has to be done.”

He’s taken an “If not you, who and if not now, when?” approach.

“When Barack Obama ran, people thought he was insane,” he shared. “Hillary (Clinton) was the favorite; she had all the money and even the (Congressional) Black Caucus was in favor of her, so the idea that if something seems to be implausible, then you don’t do it? Uh, Uh. That’s not how I roll.”

Elder isn’t the only African American looking to replace Newsom. Chauncey “Slim” Killens, a Donald Trump supporter from Southern California who attended the Jan. 6 rallies in D.C. before the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol building, made the list of 41 and vows to “Make California Great Again.” Other candidates include former Republican Senator Ted Gaines, former Republican Congressman Doug Ose, former Olympian-turned reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner.

Elder says he doesn’t pay much attention to the pool of candidates.

“The target is Newsom,” he said. “If he isn’t recalled, it doesn’t matter. I intend to be the person that you write down or you check off for who you want as a replacement when you recall this guy. He’s going.”

Elders hosts the nationally televised “The Larry Elder Show,” which broadcasts locally on  

AM 1380. The former attorney is also a columnist who has appeared on FoxNews and presided over the TV series, “Moral Court” in the early 2000s.

Elder’s election announcement came on the heels of Gov. Newsom’s extension of the state’s eviction moratorium through September 30 and moving on a $5.2 billion rent relief program to cover those who didn’t pay during the pandemic. 

Republicans have called the money a bribe.

“Another whole year of not paying your rent? Who pays for that?” Elder said. “Money doesn’t grow on trees, We’re paying for that. He’s doing it because he’s afraid of being recalled.”

He rejects the notion that his conservative ideology and alignment with the Republican Party may turn Black voters off.

“The only reason my views are perceived as unpopular is because a lot of Black people haven’t heard them.” 

After leaving Sacramento last week, Elder planned to continue traveling the state raising awareness–and contributions– for his election bid.