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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.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."