"They’re so far beyond weanie baby at this point – that was a compliment in retrospect," Kevin Paffrath, a 29-year-old real estate millionaire and YouTube star who goes by the name Meet Kevin, told Fox News Saturday.
Paffrath, who had his campaign announcement post briefly taken down by Instagram after calling Newsom a "weanie baby" and whose lawyers sent CNN a cease-and-desist letter last month for reporting that Newsom faced no Democratic challengers, had RSVP’d in advance and seemed excited to go.
"Already got tickets," he told Fox News hours before the event kicked off in Culver City Saturday morning.
But when he got there, he said three staffers told him the venue was full. Later, he said, he saw a group of people being let through the gate.
Video shows he followed them and showed his ticket, his ID and his vaccination card – but was turned away nonetheless.
"It seems like they go out of their way to avoid saying ‘you’re not allowed’ by playing games saying ‘it’s full,’ when it’s not," he said. "Classic Newsom camp: misleading people."
Hours later, he summed up his situation on Twitter.
"Democratic Party is not inclusive," he wrote. "Very sad."
He said he believes he had been blacklisted. And there was collateral damage, too, he said.
"A credentialed press photographer was banned from entering while other people were being let into the Newsom event because she was photographing me," he alleged.
Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Neither did Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who flew across the country to campaign for Newsom at the event.
Paffrath accused Newsom of using the leading Republican candidate, conservative radio host Larry Elder, to "fear monger" and of pretending the recall effort hasn’t received support from Democrats.
During the campaign event, with Paffrath stuck outside the gate, Warren told the crowd that Elder has "dreams of being California’s own Donald Trump." And Newsom called on voters to keep him in office to fight "Trumpism."
Newsom, Warren and media outlets around the country have also been raising the notion that if Elder takes office and Sen. Dianne Feinstein retires or leaves before the end of her term, he would be free to select a Republican replacement in the heavily Democratic state.
Paffrath, a self-described "JFK-style Democrat" said he would appoint a member of his own party in that situation, even as he grows disillusioned by Newsom’s alleged efforts to stifle him.
"I don’t believe a governor should upset the elected balance of power by single-handedly overturning the balance of power the people voted for," he said.
Even as party insiders are working to help Newsom stave off the recall, there are nine Democratic candidates among the 46 recall challengers.
After the campaign event incident, Paffrath accused Newsom’s allies of "corrupting the Democratic Party and the American process."
"Newsom’s being selfish and afraid," he said. "I suppose I would be too if I spent my first term misleading Californians…Every day that goes by, I grow more disillusioned with the party’s practices."
The recall effort follows months of criticisms of Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and forest fires. He has also been accused of being out of touch with everyday Californians after he was caught eating lunch at a ritzy restaurant in violation of his own shutdown order and has accepted donations from large corporations after his policies left small businesses struggling to stay afloat.
California voters will be asked two questions on the recall ballot – should Newsom be recalled, and who should replace him.
Newsom has been urging supporters to vote "no" on the first and leave the second blank. The question to recall Newsom requires a simple majority. If more voters choose yes, whoever gets the most support on the second question will finish his term.