Although Republicans will probably be hesitant to line up with a transgender candidate, Caitlyn Jenner announced that she is considering running to be California’s next governor.
According to her tweet, she will “decide soon” if she will be running or not.
A reality TV personality and trans rights activist who described herself as “economically conservative, socially progressive” in a People magazine interview, would stand out if she were to run.
Jenner, 71, would join the race to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election this year, according to AP News. A spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association said that she spoke to Dave Rexrode, the executive director, about her potential run.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose and businessman John Cox, are all Republicans who have announced their intentions to run.
Jenner had a back-and-forth relationship with former President Donald Trump. She supported him in 2016, but later criticized his decision to reverse transgender access to public school bathrooms, as reported by the AP. She also criticized Trump after he banned trans people from serving in the U.S. military.
Newsom has close ties to the LGBT community. As San Francisco’s mayor, he ignored the law and issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004. However, there has been criticism about Newsom’s handling of the pandemic, according to AP News.
Voters would be answering two questions if the recall qualifies for the ballot: Whether Newsom should be removed from office, and a list of replacement candidates to choose from if more than 50% support removing him from office.
People who are familiar with Jenner’s plans, or who are advising her, but were not able to speak publicly said she is evaluating key questions in the possible candidacy: “Is she ready for the rigors of a statewide campaign, the pressure to raise tens of millions of dollars and ultimately, can she win?”
“My understanding is she is in the research phase, trying to assess her chances, trying to understand the pathway to victory,” said Jim Brulte, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, according to AP News.
Jenner also could face questions about a 2015 fatal crash in which she rear-ended two cars which caused the death of a 70-year-old woman, according to ABC News.
Jenner’s team consists of Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale, who is helping her assemble an inner circle; longtime Republican strategist Ryan Erwin, a veteran of California and presidential politics who would become the campaign’s general consultant, and GOP fundraiser Caroline Wren.
As a potential run by a first-time candidate, Jenner has spotlighted many unknowns about her positions on critical issues such as handling the pandemic, and slowing down the homelessness crisis, AP News reports.
California Republican national committeeman Shawn Steel told the AP News that Jenner “is not to be discounted at all,” if she enters the contest.
“Caitlyn adds a whole new level of excitement,” Steel told AP.
The election will most likely take place in the fall.