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A 29-year-old YouTube millionaire is leading in a poll to replace Gavin Newsom as next governor of California


YouTube influencer Kevin Paffrath could become California's youngest governor to date.

Paffrath, a 29-year-old who has made millions of dollars on his "Meet Kevin" YouTube channel, is leading in a recent poll from SurveyUSA among respondents planning to vote in next month's recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The survey shows Paffrath leading 46 candidates, including conservative talk show host Larry Elder and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner, with 27% of the vote.

Paffrath's share in the poll was followed by six Republican candidates, including Elder, who came in second at 24%. The 29-year-old is one of nine Democrats working to unseat Newsom. 

In the tally, 51% of 613 likely voters surveyed from August 2-4 said they would vote in favor of ousting Newsom. The Democratic Party is urging voters to vote against a recall, as well as skip the second question on the ballot, which asks voters to select a replacement if a recall occurs. But if more than half of California voters support the ballot recall on September 14, the next governor will be one of the 46 candidates with the most votes.

An earlier poll by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Los Angeles Times in July had only 36% in favor of a recall with 51% of registered voters against it. 

"We think in the last two weeks of this campaign if the recall looks more and more likely, the Democratic party will be forced to pick a Hail Mary back-up candidate," Paffrath said at a Newsom press event in San Francisco. "Given that we're No. 1 in the polls, we hope that's us." 

The YouTuber is a real estate investor out of Ventura, California. His channel has nearly 1.7 million followers and focuses on daily commentary on stocks, housing, and stimulus. The channel has turned Paffrath into a multi-millionaire. In the past year alone, he has earned nearly $10 million on YouTube, according to CNBC.

Paffrath says he voted for Joe Biden in the presidential elections and identifies as a centrist. He has been following Newsom on his "Vote No" campaign trail which started in San Francisco last week. 

The recall effort has been several years in the making, but has picked up steam during COVID-19 due to concerns over state shutdowns and the gradual reopening of the state. Several major public figures have joined in on the call to get Newsom out of office over the course of the year, including billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, who pointed to the flight of major companies like Tesla and Oracle from the state.

Paffrath says he plans to address concerns over high taxes, as well as solve issues with elevated levels of homelessness in cities like San Francisco. The 29-year-old's tax plan would have people avoid income tax on their first $250,000. He also plans to make COVID-19 safety measures optional and says he will clear the homeless population from the streets within his first 60 days in office.

(Grace Kay is a fellow at Business Insider writing about the latest business trends. She has reported for Bloomberg News and Forbes, covering anything from education and technology to commodities and trading.) 


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