"Things have gotten so bad that I'm compelled to do what I'm doing."

Leo Zacky

Republican Candidate for Governor


September 13, 2021


QUESTION: Tell me how you decided and when you decided "I'm going to run for governor," and What was the thinking there; was there like an incident that triggered that or...?

ZACKY: Well there was a few things. I mean it goes back to when I was working with my family's business, and I was part of the California Poultry Federation. So I was a board member, and even before I was a board member I still got to go along and go to DC and Sacramento and meet a lot of our senators, congressmen and state reps. And also when I was a board member, I remember that we would go to their offices to have meetings, or we'd have private functions, like you know we'd get the special private room with these fancy expensive restaurants that we'd have to host these guys at. And it's really disheartening to hear a lot of the things that they would tell us when we'd ask them for help.

I remember one specific example. I can't remember the politician's name though, but we were in his office, and we were, were telling them that we need them to vote against this legislation that was passing—it was to ban the use of what's called shackles, in the industry, and it's an essential part of the evisceration process. It's essentially when you take them from the trucks and they go off to be, to be processed. And there, there was legislation going to be passed to ban the use of that because of the name "shackles." Because that just sounds, somebody said well it sounds like slavery or whatever. You know, it's just some stupid PC thing, which didn't make sense and didn't belong there. But anyway so we asked him to, you know to vote against it. And they said, "Well"—he literally said, "Well we already agreed to vote with the other side on this one because when we need them to vote with us on something that they'll vote with us on something." It was like, are you kidding me? Like, we're your constituents, and we're telling you that this is like instrumental in our production and if we don't have this, it's going to totally cripple our businesses. They didn't care.

And then there was times we booked these private rooms with the fancy restaurants and they'd say, well you know my, my assistant or whatever double-booked me. We always got the double book excuse, all the time. And then you know if they showed up, like oh we can only stay for 15 or 20 minutes, and then we got to get to this other event. You know, if they showed up, And then we started to realize if we just ordered expensive wine, that they would stay. So we started ordering like these like $500-plus bottles of wine. And they'd be oh well we got to go. "No, wait, wait, we just got this bottle." "Oh, okay, I can stay for that but then I got to go." Then we'd finish the bottle and they'd say, "Okay well I got to go now." "But wait, wait, wait; we got another bottle coming." And then they'd wind up staying for the whole thing.

It was just really, it was just really showing. You know, you know people. It's one thing to say things but it's, it's your actions that are really showing it. And then they just love being told, "Oh, Senator, oh, Congressman, oh you're so wonderful."

QUESTION: So that's the general dissatisfaction with politicians, but in terms of "I'm going to run for governor in this recall election..."  Was there something that triggered that specific... ?

ZACKY:  Well between you know all the poor regulations that were passed here in California that wound up crippling and destroying my family's business after 90 years of being solely operated in California—that was the whole principle was that everything we did was in California.

But I mean, Donald Trump getting in and showing that he wasn't a politician and that anybody could do it. I mean granted he's a billionaire and, you know, a celebrity status and all, but I mean successful regardless. The point is he broke the mold on that you have to be a politician to be a politician, which I think a lot of people have lost sight of. So for me that was big inspiration.

And then just I'm tired of seeing everything go to crap. I've lived my whole life in California—born and raised here in Los Angeles, I've spent a lot of time in the Central Valley, like I know the state pretty dang well. And I'm just seeing it go down the toilet.

QUESTION: What is an example?

ZACKY: Okay. I mean, I mean the homeless crisis has never been as bad as it is. It's out of control, and you know these are humans, and they need they need to be given proper help and care. They're not just street urchins they're humans. So that's that's something that like that's very showing.

And then just the cost of living, it's out of control. I mean, I remember when I was a kid, like, and my mom was complaining about gas that was $1.50, you know. And it's some places in town it's $6 right now. That's just gas I mean, the cost to borrow money you have to pay with with property taxes is outrageous. It's tax, tax, tax, tax. And everything's broken. Everything's broken. All these taxes that we pay towards, and everything's broken. Nothing works, and they keep pissing money on stupid endeavors like this bullet train to nowhere, the roads that aren't *** fixed. Sorry, it's just, it's frustrating.

QUESTION: So when did you decide?

ZACKY: I tried, wanting to do this back in 2016 but I just didn't know where to begin because it's such a big process. And I kept asking the guy who's in charge of the California Poultry Federation, you know, help me out, get me in touch with some of these people so I can start doing it. And he's always like, Leo, like you're some dumb kid. Unfortunately I see that as the old way of thinking. I think people have moved past the whole concept of: you got to be a politician to be a politician and wanting career politicians. I think right now people want, they want outsiders, they want new blood, they want new ideas.

QUESTION: So,did you think about going and running in 2018 for governor?

ZACKY: Well things were getting pretty crazy my family's business in 2018 so I was a little distracted at that point. But yeah, I did want to run I just didn't, I didn't know how. I went down to the courthouse and I, in Beverly Hills, I was wanting to start the process, but I mean the woman at the clerk's desk there was no help and wasn't willing to give me any information. Like I was just like some idiot who needed to figure it out on his own. They don't want to help you get on the ballot.

QUESTION: So, once, how long have you been running?

ZACKY: I've been putting my efforts into this since last year. And, and then actually January 6 I met the right person who really got me going in the right direction when we were at the Capitol, I met him. And he just, I just kept in touch with him and he was like yeah we're actually trying to figure out you know how to, who's going to be the candidate for governor. I was like well I want to come to that meeting. And we just had a bunch of back and forth, and I finally nailed down a date with him. We met and I presented him this whole write up that I did about exactly what I want to do. And he just fell in love with it and fell in love with me at that moment. And he's just been helping me and he's been introducing me so many people and with his help and everybody he's introduced me's help, like I have a team now of, you know, people that worked for Trump's campaign, and I'm on the ballot and I'm doing it and I'm speaking at events and I'm going places.

QUESTION: So, as you look back, really it ramped up in January?

ZACKY: That's when things really got into high gear.

QUESTION: What have you learned? This is something you've never done before; are you a better candidate now than you were back in January?

ZACKY: I mean yeah. I mean every time I get up and speak in front of a crowd, I feel like I get better. You know, it's always a learning process, I mean, I know that there's different kinds of people with different thought processes.

I'm definitely learning that there's a very strong religious base here in California. I mean there's a lot of people that are just like super into theology and religion. That's great; I'm glad these people have that. I mean that's not, that's not something I'm big on. I mean like, I'm totally for like practicing whatever religion you want. You know, I think satanism is probably a little, not, not the best one; I wouldn't support that or advocate for that. But it's surprising. There's actually a lot of people that are on the ballot that are pastors right now...

But you know, I am finding that there's a lot of people that are running too, which is kind of disheartening, that are doing this just for self gain. They're trying to like sell products or just become famous, get their name out there. Like I know there's a lot of—

Something I said there's like, you know, there's two kinds of people you see on billboards: lawyers and real estate agents. Then I guess the third one would be a politician, so—

QUESTION: Although there haven't really been any billboards.

ZACKY: I've got billboards.

QUESTION: You do? Where?

ZACKY: I've got 16 around the state.

QUESTION: Is there one around here?

ZACKY: Well, I couldn't find any further on the West side. I have two on the 405, I've got four on the 5, I've got two on the 10, one on the 91, I got one on the 105, I think I have one the 710, and then I have, I have some up San Jose area,  I have some, I have some down in El Centro which is a border town, an inland border town, I have some in Stockton.

QUESTION: What does one of your billboards look like? Do they have your picture and slogan on it?

ZACKY: Yes so it's got my picture on it, it's got the Zacky farms logo that we've reworked and made it look, you know, patriotic and stuff like that, and it's, one has a quote, saying, "This is my home and I want to fix it." I have another one that says, "For" and it lists three things that I'm for. And then on the other side it says "Against" and a list of things I'm against like forced vaccinations and critical race theory.

QUESTION: A number of different variations.

ZACKY: I have like three or four different billboards; it rotates.

QUESTION: So, have you been to many multi-candidate forums? Is there one of them that stands out as being like you were really clicking with people or this was a great event?

ZACKY: There was one that Sonya Green put on with the Patriots for Freedom, it was down in this beer garden in Huntington Beach. Yeah it was a really great venue, and I think I did really well with my speaking there. I mean, it wasn't like a forum where they had us all sitting, like I did, I just did a forum up in Visalia, which that was cool. But I've been doing a bunch of debates online with Yes California which is a really great organization that really helped me get the voice of the not mainstream media in your face frontrunner candidates. They're doing what nobody else is willing to do and that's give a voice to all the candidates. And I think that's something that is not really getting focused on here is that there's a lot of potential candidates, not all of them are great, but I think there's definitely a good number out there that are far better than the ones that the media is just shoving in everybody's faces that you know really deserve to be heard, myself included in that.

QUESTION: Do have a full time staff, campaign staff?

ZACKY: Yeah but I mean, they're doing this pro bono. They haven't aked me for a dime because they, they believe in me that much and they want to support me. You know I've got, I've got the head of Team Trump's former head of communications of California is running my whole thing right now...

QUESTION: Have you raised money?

ZACKY: I've put up. I put up 50,000 of my own dollars, just as a real good, just to start. I know it's   not hundreds of thousands or millions, but I mean—

QUESTION: But have you done the dialing for dollars?

ZACKY: No, no, I didn't want to start doing that until I had, you know, really good quality media behind me, because if I just start calling people and I don't have anything behind me to show for it, it doesn't really look good and you're kind of just wasting that call. Because you only really get one call, you know. If you're gonna, if you're gonna make, you know, call somebody and ask for money to donate to your campaign like you want to make sure like you got your ducks in a line, like you're looking good. But I have been getting donations. I mean, plenty of my friends have donated, you know, hundreds of dollars, thousands of dollars in some cases.

QUESTION: So would you say your major investment has been in the billboards, or if you look at where all that money has gone?

ZACKY: That's the thing. I haven't spent all of it because my original intention was actually to run for 2022, and then when the recall was announced I was like well I might as well...

I wasn't really ready for this, but I think it was cool because it was a dry run, I guess if you want to call it that. I mean, I mean I ran with every intention of winning, but I'm also completely new to campaigning so now that I've, you know, got my feet wet, I think I'm gonna have a better, a better time second, second go at it.

QUESTION: But in terms of expenditures would you say, the major major expenditures?

ZACKY: You know what, I actually spent more money getting on the ballot than I've spent doing anything else. It was like 11 grand, between all the processes to get on the ballot...

I didn't really want to spend all the money this time around. I mean if I, if I felt that there was a real potential upswing from it, then I would have gone for it. Like I thought the billboards was a good idea just because I'm not really good at social media. And, you know, I know everybody gets stuck on the traffic, they get stuck on the freeway in traffic. I mean I look at billboards.

QUESTION: So, if you were advising some new candidate who's never done this before, what would be one lesson you've learned that makes you a better candidate now than before you got in this?

ZACKY: Not everybody has the right advice. And you've got to, as much as people are gonna want to push and pull you and try to mold you into a certain shape. Don't. I mean, to a degree, I mean don't get me wrong, like, take advice, listen to it. Like you can definitely apply that to some situations, but you can't— And I, this is something I always said from the beginning is like, I'm never gonna pander to anybody. Just don't. And if your heart's not in it, if your heart is not in it like, don't do it. Like you have to really be committed. You really got to want to do this. You really got to care, because trust me like, I would love to, you know just be a wealthy private citizen, not famous, nobody knows me. That's, that's what I want. That's what I want. But things have gotten so bad that I'm compelled to do what I'm doing. So if you're, if you're not at that level, this ain't for you.

And you know what, like, we do need people that are going to do things in local government. I mean for me. I think that it would be a waste of time for me. My experience, my work experience, my life experience, I think I'm best suited for the top seat just because I've been in upper management in business, I've seen how corrupt government is and I'm not afraid to say that. I'm the guy who's not going to back down...