Status: 11.09.2021 11:25 a.m.

Should the Californians vote on Tuesday to remove incumbent Newsom, a German could inherit him as governor. In the unlikely event, 29-year-old Kevin Paffrath has big plans.

By Marcus Schuler, ARD Studio Los Angeles

“We are the fifth largest economy in the world. Germany is number 4. We should have a governor who wants to beat Germany so that California is number four,” says Kevin Paffrath with a laugh. His parents emigrated from Wuppertal to the USA 28 years ago. The ex-real estate agent and today’s YouTube star was a tender 13 months old. He has long been a US citizen, but he has retained his German citizenship. “I try to speak German with my children. My German is not perfect. But I teach them words like ‘book’, ‘dog’ or ‘car’.”

Paffrath is the only Democrat who competes against Gavin Newsom, who is also a member of the Democratic Party, in the “recall” of the governor. In surveys a few days ago it was at times close to 30 percent. One reason: The Californians, who quarrel with the slick-looking incumbent Newsom, shy away from the ultra-conservative Republican candidates. Paffrath has cleverly positioned himself as a dynamic alternative: “During the lockdown, Gavin Newsom went to the Pilates studio. His children go to private school, while everyone else keeps their children at home. As a result, he lost a lot of trust,” says Paffrath .

The election campaign “Crasher”

The 29-year-old’s election campaign is limited to social media channels and small appearances. He has a budget of only three quarters of a million dollars. Newsom should be a good 80 million available. “California has to be great again – and not broke. People with money are leaving our state. They are moving to Texas, Florida or Nevada,” argues the YouTuber.

In the past few weeks, Paffrath has flown from city to city in a private plane, held small rallies and often crashed the incumbent’s campaign appearances. “I want to improve our schools,” promises the political youngster. “We have to get the drought and the forest fires under control. Unfortunately, our governor doesn’t care about that – he’s more interested in smaller projects.”

Newsom’s unlikely to be voted out

Paffrath, on the other hand, wants to bake larger rolls. The “LA Times” has described his ideas as bold at times: For example, he wants to build a nearly 3,000-kilometer-long water pipeline from the Mississippi River to California to end the drought. He wants to build vocational schools based on the German model throughout the state – both for teenagers and for those who have switched jobs. “I don’t want my two children, Jack and Max, to say in 20 years’ time, ‘Why did you raise us here in California, why didn’t we go to Florida or Texas, where the schools are better?’ That’s what I’m scared of. ”

Even if his plans sometimes overshoot, the 29-year-old has won a lot of sympathy in the 40 million-inhabitant state. Nevertheless: There is the reality check for him on Tuesday evening. According to polls, 60 percent of Californians will choose to keep Gouerneur Newsom in office. Should Paffrath get well over a million votes, he wants to run again next year in the regular governor elections in California.

29-year-old YouTuber Kevin Paffrath from Wuppertal could become governor of California

Marcus Schuler, ARD Los Angeles, 9/11/2021 10:37 a.m.