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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The new king of SPACs has his eyes on a different title: Governor of California.

Driving the news: Chamath Palihapitiya is very seriously considering a run for gov, if incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom succumbs to a burgeoning recall effort.

Who? Chamath Palihapitiya is an early Facebook executive who went on to found a VC firm called Social Capital, which he later turned into a something akin to a family office. He's also become a prolific SPAC sponsor (both via his own vehicles and through PIPEs), and just yesterday made headlines for buying call options on GameStop.

Three things to know:

1. This isn't a joke, or a rich man's fleeting aspiration. Chamath has a track record of following through once he sets his mind to something, no matter how much critical noise it generates.

2. He has a platform as unconventionally bold as his business history, including an elimination of state income taxes that Chamath believes would be offset by a rush of businesses into the state. The basic pitch would be that this could reverse the recent trend of tech company/investor departures.

  • Plus, he wants state-backed income share agreements to fight future student debt, higher minimum teacher salaries, and $2,000 checks per child born in-state.

3. He has major political liabilities, given that voters are likely to first be introduced to him as a Silicon Valley billionaire (or, worse, a Facebook billionaire).

Caveat on repeat: Newsom is under pressure for his pandemic response management, but that could wane if the vaccination process improves. No recall, no Chamath campaign.

The bottom line: This is California politics. Never say never.

Go deeper

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Updated 39 mins ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.

Updated 40 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

The latest: “I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence. But we’ve been warning about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken to that publicly," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.