Voter GuideGovernorMichael Shellenberger



Applicant Michael Shellenberger is asking you to hire him for the role of governor, which pays $209,747 per year. His resume:

Michael Shellenberger

Environmental Advocate

Professional Profile

Michael Shellenberger’s first bid for governor didn’t get far: Running as a Democrat in 2018, he finished ninth in the primary, receiving less than 1% of the vote. Since then, he has shed his party affiliation and developed a devoted online following by challenging the liberal orthodoxy of California’s approach to issues such as climate change and homelessness. Books including “San Fransicko,” his critique of “why progressives ruin cities,” earned Shellenberger national attention.

The Berkeley activist, who frequently renounces the “radical” views of his youth, is hoping to break through voters’ partisan affiliations by promising to restore order to a society in chaos. His focus is California’s homelessness crisis, which he blames on decades of offering people housing without requiring them to seek treatment for drug addictions or mental illness; he wants to ramp up forced psychiatric care and arrests of drug users and dealers. Shellenberger is also a vocal advocate for nuclear energy and keeping the Diablo Canyon Power Plant operating.

Though an independent candidate has never won statewide office in California, Shellenberger is buoyed by hundreds of small donors and a national platform that has made him a frequent guest on Fox News and Joe Rogan’s massively popular podcast. In a field without any prominent challenger to Gov. Gavin Newsom, he could have a shot to advance to the November general election.

Update: Shellenberger did not advance to the November general election.


President, Environmental Progress


Founded an organization to advocate for nuclear energy, which has since expanded to include other environmental causes as well as anti-drug and homelessness policies.

Campaigned to save nuclear reactors slated to close around the globe, including California’s Diablo Canyon.

Published several books including 2020’s “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” disputing the scientific consensus that climate change is an existential threat, and 2021’s “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities.”

President, The Breakthrough Institute


Co-founded a research and policy center to promote “ecomodernism,” a philosophy that embraces technological developments such as genetically-modified crops and nuclear energy to advance both economic prosperity and sustainability.

First came to renown with “The Death of Environmentalism,” a controversial 2004 essay making the case that the environmental movement had become ineffective and should be abolished in favor of a new approach to dealing with climate change.


  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
  • “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams
  • Actor Dean Cain
  • Venture capitalist David Sacks

Fun Fact

Shellenberger spent the fall semester of his senior year of high school living in Nicaragua to study Spanish and express solidarity with the Sandinista revolution.

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