Who Is Larry Elder? Radio Talk Show Host Running for California Governor

Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder is officially in the race to be California's next governor, joining a crowded field of Republican candidates vying to replace Governor Gavin Newsom.

Elder, whose fans know him as the "Sage of South Central," formally announced his decision to run against Newsom on Monday, calling the Democrat "arrogant" in a Twitter video. Newsom will face a recall vote on September 14, and if 50 percent of Californians vote to remove him, the state will have a new governor.

Elder announced his campaign on his syndicated radio show on the Salem Radio Network and he already has a website seeking donations from supporters to challenge Newsom.

The radio personality is a Republican and the latest prominent member of the GOP to join a race that already includes 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and former U.S. Representative Doug Ose.

On his show on Monday, Elder said he makes no apology for supporting former President Donald Trump in 2020, adding that: "Gavin Newsom will not be running against Trump."

"I'm my own man," Elder said.

His website describes him as a "nationally syndicated radio host and newspaper columnist, bestselling author, award-winning documentary filmmaker, and one of the best-known media figures in America today."

He was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the Pico-Union and South Central areas of the city.

Elder's father served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Originally from Athens, Georgia, the veteran moved to California and opened his own restaurant, called Elder's Snack Bar. His mother was from Huntsville, Alabama, and was a clerical worker in the Department of War (the Department of Defense since 1949) and then a stay-at-home mom. The couple had three sons.

Larry Elder attended Crenshaw High School and earned a BA in political science from Brown University, followed by a JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 1977.

He won a large audience through The Larry Elder Show, which aired on KABC in the Los Angeles market and was syndicated nationally by ABC Radio Networks. It has been syndicated by the Salem Radio Network since 2015. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

Elder released a video on Twitter on Monday before his announcement, in which he called Newsom "an arrogant Democrat governor."

"If I enter this race one of the big reasons is the way this man handled the coronavirus, imposing the most severe lockdowns of any of the 50 states, often ignoring science, science that said in-school learning would be perfectly OK under precautions," Elder said.

Elder told The Associated Press (AP) that he entered the race in response to California's homelessness problem, rising crime rates and COVID lockdowns, as well as issues with the state's power and water.

"I have common sense. I have good judgment. I'm born and raised here. I think I understand the state," Elder said.

"I think this is a race between Gavin Newsom and me. I don't think about the other candidates," he added.

Newsweek has asked the Larry Elder campaign for comment.

Larry Elder Attends a 2018 Movie Premiere
Radio Talk Show Host Larry Elder attends the "Death Of A Nation" Premiere at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on July 31, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. Elder announced a run for governor of California on Monday. Greg Doherty/Getty Images