Yes, ‘The Circle’ Star Shubham Goel Really Ran for Governor of California – And Didn’t Finish Last

Breakout contestant from Netflix reality competition series has even more layers than you thought

shubham goel the circle

Shubham Goel, the unlikely breakout star of the Netflix reality competition series “The Circle,” dropped a bombshell in the show’s 11th episode, revealing that he was the youngest candidate for governor of California.

And yes, Goel did, in fact, run an independent campaign for the state’s top office in 2018 at age 22 — losing badly to Democrat Gavin Newsom. According to state election records, the UCLA graduate and virtual-reality manager finished in second-to-last place among the 27 candidates with a total of 4,020 votes. (Newsom, meanwhile, received 7,721,410.)

Goel (affectionately nicknamed “Shooby”) finished second on “The Circle” to his bartender buddy Joey Sasso, who won $100,000 for befriending a bunch of strangers encountered only via voice-activated social media connections.

The self-styled nerd described social media as “our modern-day bubonic plague” but quickly found himself chasing likes and DMing fellow contestants (including several catfishes) on the series, which just wrapped its first season.

Goel revealed his political history during a game within the show in which fellow contestants all pegged him as the one most likely to run for president.

Little did they know about his real-life 2018 race, which included a full campaign website touting a platform that promised to cut taxes, improve water conservation and reform the University of California system.

Not surprisingly for someone who had harsh views about social media, he also advocated banning “social media usage for kids in K-12 schools across California” and encouraging “workplaces, schools and our government to advocate for less time on these sites and more time outdoors.”