By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Most of the candidates running for Califonia Governor were not at Tuesday night’s debate in San Jose.

In all, there are 27 candidates who have submitted signatures and paid to have their names printed on the primary ballot.

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One is puppeteer-turned-politician Chris Carlson. Carlson got started puppeteering at Sacramento State, where a professor showed him the age-old art form.

“He started taking me under his wing, and he showed me the ropes, and a couple years later here we are,” Carlson said.

Now, this puppeteer is pounding the pavement in a run for governor. He even has his puppet character named “cabbage” debating competing candidates.

There are other unconventional candidates for California governor in 2018. Besides Carlson, candidate Zolton Istvan is running as a transhumanist, a believer humans can end the aging process. Shubman Goel is a 22-year-old UCLA grad who lists his profession a virtual reality manager.

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They are just some of the 27 names printed on the governor race ballot.

One of Chris Carlson’s campaign platforms is getting California into the space race.

“Yeah, people keep talking about us being the fifth largest economy,” Carlson said.

Besides that, Carlson promises to be the candidate who can offer comic relief.

“Levity,” Carlson said. “Levity. We could all use it. Joy even. Joy would be nice.”

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This 2018 California gubernatorial candidate count is not a record. It’s not even close. The California recall election in 2003 had 135 candidates.