‘I’m in!’: Caitlyn Jenner announces run for governor of California

Former Olympian, transgender activist, and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner has announced that she’s running for governor of California against embattled incumbent Gavin Newsom (D), who’s in the midst of a recall effort expected to succeed.

“I’m in! California is worth fighting for,” Jenner—a Republican—tweeted Friday morning with the hashtag “#RecallNewsom,” in announcing that she has filed the paperwork.

She also shared a press release in which she 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. 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.”

“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,” Jenner also wrote, labeling herself a “compassionate disrupter.” “This will be a campaign of solutions, providing a roadmap back to prosperity to turn this state around and finally clean up the damage Newsom has done to this state.”

She also railed against the “over-restrictive” COVID-19 lockdown that has “devastated” small businesses, against remote learning, as well as saying that taxes that are “too high”.

While Jenner has assembled a team of notable GOP operatives to advise the campaign, the effort to trigger a recall election against Newsom needs to succeed.

The movement to recall Newsom started last June in opposition to how the governor handled the Golden State’s response to the coronavirus pandemic with many restrictions implemented, but the effort gained increasing momentum after Newsom was caught violating the state’s restrictions by attending a dinner party at a fancy restaurant in the autumn.

RELATED: Newsom ‘worried’ about recall effort

Recall leaders claim to have gathered more than two million voter signatures–well more than the required 1.5 million valid signatures to prompt a recall election to occur later this year. The signatures were submitted last month to officials in all the state’s counties, who have until next Thursday to verify all of them. If enough signatures are deemed valid, which is expected, the election would likely happen sometime in November.

Assuming the recall makes it onto the ballot, Californians would first have to answer whether Newsom should be removed from office and then–if over 50% support his removal–they would have to choose from a list of candidates campaigning to take his job in Sacramento.

While recent Californian history has seen recall efforts and celebrity candidates succeed–such as in 2003 when Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled and replaced with action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)–a poll from the Public Policy Institute of California published last month reported that 56% of Californian adult respondents said if the recall election happened right now, they would vote against removing Newsom.

Significantly, if Jenner were to win, she would become the highest-ranking transgender elected official in the country. The current person is Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride (D), who was elected in 2020.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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