With a recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) all but certain, a well-known celebrity who has long identified as a Republican has thrown their hat in the ring as a potential replacement in the governor’s mansion.
Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic gold medalist turned transgender activist, has officially launched a campaign to become the Golden State’s next governor, should Newsom be ousted from office by voters, The Hill reported.
Jenner would undoubtedly be the biggest and most recognized name among what is expected to be a crowded field of Republican and independent challengers to the embattled Democratic governor.
Receiving help from former Trump aides
Axios reported Friday that Jenner had filed the paperwork to formally launch the gubernatorial campaign and, while not making a direct tie to former President Donald Trump — who Jenner once supported — the candidate has enlisted the help of some of Trump’s former campaign aides.
Jenner’s nascent team reportedly includes GOP operative and pollster Tony Fabrizio, who worked on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, as well as Steven Cheung, a communications aide who worked on Trump’s campaign and in the White House and who also played a role in the successful 2003 campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace recalled Gov. Gray Davis (D).
The outlet reported that Jenner has also been consulting with former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, who is a personal friend, though he is not expected to take on any sort of formal role in Jenner’s effort.
An unnamed adviser to Jenner’s campaign told Axios that they believed Jenner had a shot at beating Newsom and that the well-known candidate would run as a “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” Republican.
“This isn’t the California we know”
“California has been my home for nearly 50 years,” Jenner said in a statement, according to Politico. “I came here because I knew that anyone, regardless of their background or station in life, could turn their dreams into reality.”
“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,” Jenner continued.
“Small businesses have been devastated because of the over-restrictive lockdown,” Jenner said, revealing a focus on Newsom’s response to the pandemic. “An entire generation of children have lost a year of education and have been prevented from going back to school, participating in activities, or socializing with their friends. Taxes are too high, killing jobs, hurting families, and putting an especially heavy burden on our most vulnerable people.”
“This isn’t the California we know,” the candidate added. “This is Gavin Newsom’s California, where he orders us to stay home but goes to dinner with his lobbyist friends.”
Jenner will obviously have name recognition, not to mention incredible wealth to fund the venture, but it remains to be seen if the campaign will be a serious effort or a publicity stunt. Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California found that roughly 40% of the state’s voters supported recalling Newsom while 56% opposed his removal from office.