Republican Caitlyn Jenner Announces Run for Governor of California

"SM1_7293" (CC BY 2.0) by Web Summit

Republican Caitlyn Jenner Announces Run for Governor of California Friday. Caitlyn Jenner announced plans to run for governor of California in a tweet, saying, “I’m in! California is worth fighting for.”

Jenner, a Republican, also filed paperwork for the governorship and hired several well-known Republican operatives to guide her upcoming campaign. She hopes to unseat Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who is currently facing a recall election later this year. 

Jenner was an Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete, nationally known TV personality, turned transgender rights activist, had been mulling a bid. 

She already had put together a team of well-known Republican operatives to advise her in her campaign. This includes 2016 and 2020 Trump presidential campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio and Steven Cheung, a Trump White House and re-election campaign aide who worked successfully with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2003 gubernatorial recall election victory in California.

With her announcement to run for governor, Jenner also launched a website that shows statements aiming at the Democrat’s one-party lock on the deep blue state for the past decade.

Jenner wrote, “California has been my home for nearly 50 years. I came here because I knew that anyone, regardless of their background or station in life, could turn their dreams into reality.” She continued, “But for the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by a one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people. Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision.”

She also touted that she is a proven winner and the only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom’s “disastrous time as governor.”

However, defeating Newsom won’t be easy as 56% of the Golden State adults who were asked in a Public Policy Institute of California survey released late last month said if the recall election were held right now, they’d vote to keep Newsom in office, with four-in-ten saying they’d vote to oust the governor from office.

“Gavin Newsom” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

The Republican party sees the recall election as their best chance to topple a politician who has never lost an election during his years as mayor in San Francisco, California lieutenant governor, and now governor. Newsom also had his first chance to win a statewide contest since the 2006 gubernatorial re-election victory by Schwarzenegger, who was a moderate Republican.

The recall against Newsom was launched June last year over charges that the California governor mishandled that State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort was fueled by the state’s COVID restrictions on businesses and houses of worship, school shutdowns, and even opposition to the state’s high taxes.

The effort to oust Newsom surged in autumn after he was seen having dinner at an uber-exclusive restaurant, which skirted rules imposed by the governor to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Recall organizers also boasted that they had collected over 2 million voter signatures, far more than the valid 1.5 million signatures needed to get a recall election on the ballot later this year. The petition signatures were also turned over last month to the registrars in California’s 58 counties. Those counties now have until April 29 to verify the signatures. The election would likely be held sometime in November.

If the Newsom recall qualifies for the ballot, voters will be asked two crucial questions: whether Newsom should be removed from office. If there are over 50% of voters who supported removing Newsom from office, the second question would be a list of replacement candidates that are running to replace Newsom. 

Jenner is the third Republican to announce their candidacy. John Cox, a businessman and the 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee who lost to Newsom by nearly 25 points, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and former Rep. Doug Ose also launched campaigns.