Kevin Kiley (politician)

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Kevin Kiley
Kevin Kiley.png
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 6th district
Assumed office
December 5, 2016
Preceded byBeth Gaines
Personal details
Kevin Patrick Kiley

(1985-01-30) January 30, 1985 (age 36)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Yale University (JD)
Loyola Marymount University (MA)

Kevin Patrick Kiley (born January 30, 1985) is an American politician, attorney, and former educator serving in the California State Assembly since 2016. He is a Republican who represents the 6th district, which is a northeast area outside Sacramento, composed of Sacramento suburbs and rural areas. Kiley was a candidate to replace California governor Gavin Newsom in a voter-initiated special recall election which was held on September 14, 2021.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Kevin Kiley grew up in the Sacramento area, where his father was a physician and his mother was a teacher. He attended local public schools, including Cavitt Junior High School and Granite Bay High School, where he was valedictorian.[1][2]

He graduated with an undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 2007,[2] completing a thesis titled "The Civil Rights Movement and the Reemergence of Classical Democracy".[3] Upon graduation, he became a teacher in Los Angeles through Teach for America, teaching for two years at Manual Arts High School while earning his teaching credentials at Loyola Marymount University.[2] In 2008, he was recognized as a national debate champion while participating as a member of the Loyola debate team.[4]

Kiley later attended Yale Law School,[2] worked as an editor of the Yale Law Journal,[5] and clerked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[6] He returned to California to join the law firm Irell & Manella, where he helped prepare an intellectual property theft case for T-Mobile against Chinese technology company Huawei that was the basis for a federal criminal investigation.[2][7] He was an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.[8]

He resides in Rocklin, California.[9]


In 2016, Kiley was elected to the California State Assembly.[2] In May 2016, Kiley told The Sacramento Bee that he supported then-Ohio Governor John Kasich in the 2016 United States presidential election.[10] In 2018, Kiley authored legislation to make it easier for students to do school transfers.[11]

After winning a second term in the State Assembly, Kiley ran for the State Senate in California's 1st District. He finished second in the primary, but lost the runoff to fellow Assemblyman Brian Dahle. Soon after the start of the new legislative session, Kiley introduced legislation to close for private use a controversial DMV office that exclusively catered to state legislators and staff. In a statement to The Sacramento Bee, Kiley said: "This is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, not an oligarchy where a gilded political class enjoys privileges that aren’t available to the people that we represent."[12]

According to the Associated Press, Kiley is "a conservative who often flirts with the fringes of the GOP".[2] He has said climate change is real, but opposed Gavin Newsom's executive orders requiring all new vehicles in California to be zero emission by 2035 and banning oil-drilling by 2045.[13][2] He is a supporter of charter schools.[14] Kiley introduced legislation to ban local and state governments from implementing vaccine requirements.[9] After Joe Biden won the 2020 election and Donald Trump refused to concede while making false claims of fraud, Kiley refused to say whether Biden won the 2020 election legitimately.[15] Kiley has said his position is to "stay out of national politics altogether", and that, "National politics is a distraction that is used frankly by those in power in Sacramento (as) kind of a smokescreen for their own failures."[2]

2021 California gubernatorial recall election[edit]

Though he voted to authorize $1 billion of emergency pandemic spending for Governor Gavin Newsom in March 2020, saying "to trust in Governor Newsom’s leadership and listen to his guidance", Kiley later said Newsom "made a mockery of that trust" and alongside fellow California legislator James Gallagher, successfully sued in June 2020 to remove Newsom's emergency powers (though the ruling was overturned on appeal),[2] and was influential in the campaign to recall Newsom, publishing a book in January 2021, titled Recall Gavin Newsom: The Case Against America's Most Corrupt Governor.[16]

On July 6, 2021, Kiley announced that he would be running as a candidate for Governor of California in the 2021 recall election.[17][18][19][20] According to the New York Times, he was one of the "more moderate Republican recall candidates,"[21] while the Los Angeles Times deemed him and John Cox as the "more traditional conservatives" in the recall election, which ultimately failed to remove Newsom from office.[15][22]

Kiley indicated his support for school choice during the campaign and said teachers unions in the state were too powerful (with the California Teachers Association having been Newsom's top donor), to the detriment of students.[9] Though vaccinated against COVID-19, Kiley pledged to overturn vaccine and mask mandates implemented by Newsom, if he became governor.[2]

United States Senate vacancies[edit]

In 2020, Kiley urged passage of his bill that would require the potential successor of then-candidate for vice president and Senator Kamala Harris to be elected by California's voters and not by gubernatorial appointment;[23] he reiterated that view during the 2021 gubernatorial recall campaign by pledging to allow voters to pick a replacement for Senator Dianne Feinstein if he became governor and her seat became vacant.[24] Kiley would later flag a constitutional issue with the appointment of Alex Padilla by Governor Newsom to replace Kamala Harris and Padilla's expected service until January 2023, since the U.S. Constitution stipulates that such appointees serve "until the people fill the vacancies by election".[25] After lawmakers in the state assembly passed a bill to address the issue that would require voters to select two senators for the same seat: one to serve in the lame-duck session from November 2022 to January 2023, and another for the term January 2023 to January 2029, Kiley said Newsom should have called a special election to fill Harris' seat much earlier, and that the bill would solve the problem in "the most undemocratic way possible".[25] Newsom would eventually sign the bill, which meant California's voters will vote a total 4 times in 2022 to fill the same Senate seat: twice in the June 2022 primary, and twice in the November 2022 general election.[26]

Electoral history[edit]

Kiley was elected to serve California's 6th State Assembly district three times: in 2016, 2018, and 2020. He won with 64% of the vote, 58% of the vote, and 59% of the vote, respectively.


California's 6th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brian Caples 26,707 19.8
Republican Kevin Kiley 22,019 16.3
Republican Andy Pugno 19,033 14.1
Democratic John Edward Z'berg 15,884 11.8
Republican Cristi Nelson 12,834 9.5
Republican Bill Halldin 12,342 9.2
Republican Kevin Hanley 8,989 6.7
Republican Ron "Mik" Mikulaco 8,239 6.1
Republican Suzanne Jones 4,397 3.3
No party preference "Bo" Bogdan I. Ambrozewicz 2,634 2.0
Republican Gabriel L. Hydrick 1,649 1.2
Total votes 134,727 100.0
General election
Republican Kevin Kiley 149,415 64.6
Democratic Brian Caples 81,919 35.4
Total votes 231,334 100.0
California Republican Party hold


California's 6th State Assembly district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Kiley (incumbent) 80,843 61.3
Democratic Jacalyn "Jackie" Smith 50,953 38.7
Total votes 131,796 100.0
General election
Republican Kevin Kiley (incumbent) 131,284 58.0
Democratic Jacalyn "Jackie" Smith 94,984 42.0
Total votes 226,268 100.0
California Republican Party hold


California's 6th State Assembly district election, 2020
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Kiley (incumbent) 104,412 58.0
Democratic Jackie Smith 75,557 42.0
Total votes 179,969 100.0
General election
Republican Kevin Kiley (incumbent) 178,559 59.0
Democratic Jackie Smith 124,294 41.0
Total votes 302,853 100.0
California Republican Party hold


  • Kevin Kiley (2021). Recall Gavin Newsom: The Case Against America's Most Corrupt Governor. ISBN 9781098361587.


  1. ^ "KILEY | Biography".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Longshot recall candidate Kiley may emerge as a GOP leader". AP NEWS. August 23, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Yale Law Journal - Masthead: Volume 121". Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  6. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  7. ^ "Honor Roll of Volunteer Attorneys 2013 | Central District of California | United States District Court".
  8. ^ "California Trailblazers Names Assembly Candidate Kevin Kiley 'Rising Star' | California Trailblazers". Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Christopher, Ben (August 24, 2021). "Who is Kevin Kiley and what would he do as governor?". CalMatters. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  10. ^ "GOP lawmaker joins recall race targeting California governor". July 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Castillo, Elizabeth (July 17, 2018). "Don't like your kid's school district? Transferring could become easier—if they're being bullied". CalMatters. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  12. ^ Ioannou, Filipa (April 5, 2019). "GOP assemblyman wants to close 'secret DMV' used by Sacramento politicians". SFGATE. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  13. ^ "Republican recall hopefuls seek to differentiate themselves in San Francisco debate". Los Angeles Times. August 20, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "NorCal Republicans Say a Local Focus, Not National Politics, Will Help Them Win This Year".
  15. ^ a b "How Trump-hating California got a slate of recall candidates who supported Trump". Los Angeles Times. August 21, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Kiley, Kevin [@KevinKileyCA] (July 6, 2021). "It's official. I'm running to replace Gavin Newsom as the Governor of California" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 3, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ KRON4 Staff (July 6, 2021). "Assemblyman Kevin Kiley announces he's running to replace Newsom". KRON4.
  19. ^ Lara Korte (July 6, 2021). "A new Republican enters California recall race to replace Gavin Newsom". Sacramento Bee.
  20. ^ Meghan Roos (July 6, 2021). "California Lawmaker Kevin Kiley Enters Race to Recall Gavin Newsom". Newsweek.
  21. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (September 13, 2021). "In California, Republicans Struggle to Expand the Recall's Appeal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^[bare URL]

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