Caitlyn Jenner — former Olympian, reality TV star, and transgender activist — on Friday filed paperwork to run for California governor as efforts to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom move forward.
“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,” Jenner said in a press release posted on Twitter. “But for the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people. Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision.
“As Californians, we face a now-or-never opportunity to fundamentally fix our state before it’s too late. Taking on entrenched Sacramento politicians and the special interest that fund them requires a fighter who isn’t afraid to do what is right. I am a proven winner and the only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom’s disastrous time as governor”
For months, Newsom has been dealing with a growing recall campaign spurred by his decisions during the pandemic.
NBC News reports: “Recall organizers have said they collected more than 2 million signatures, well above the 1.5 million needed to meet the state’s threshold to trigger an election. Counties have until the end of the month to verify signatures and report their tallies to state election officials. The state Finance Department will take about 30 days to produce a cost estimate for the election before a legislative panel reviews the findings. Only then would an election date be set.”
If the recall formally qualifies for the ballot, Jenner could be the first in a long line of candidates. During the 2003 recall election, California saw a circus-like lineup of 135 candidates ranging from adult film star Mary Carey, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, Arianna Huffington, and actors Gary Coleman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would go on to become governor.
Jenner has received criticism for endorsing former President Donald Trump in 2016, especially from the LGBTQ+ community. She later rescinded her support in a 2018 Washington Post editorial, writing that she “was wrong” and that “the trans community is being relentlessly attacked by this president.”
Despite this change of heart, Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, slammed Jenner. “Make no mistake: we can’t wait to elect a #trans governor of California,” the organization tweeted Friday. “But @Caitlyn_Jenner spent years telling the #LGBTQ+ community to trust Donald Trump. We saw how that turned out. Now she wants us to trust her? Hard pass.”
The criticism will most likely be bolstered as a result of the team she has assembled. Axios reports that Jenner has assembled a team which includes former Trump campaign alumni like pollster Tony Fabrizio, who worked on the former president’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns. Jenner has also hired Steven Cheung, assistant communications director in the Trump White House and director of rapid response for his campaign. “Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale, a personal friend of Jenner’s, has helped her assemble her team but doesn’t plan to take an official title on the campaign,” according to Axios.