After giving it much thought, Caitlyn Jenner, a Republican, announced she’s running for California’s next governor.
She made the announcement on her website and Instagram pages on April 23.
“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 wrote. “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.”
California Republican national committeeman Shawn Steel told the AP News that Jenner “is not to be discounted at all.”
“Caitlyn adds a whole new level of excitement,” Steel told the AP.
She’s attempting to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has faced criticism from conservatives for his handling of the pandemic. There will be a recall election later this year.
Voters will have to answer 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. During the last recall election in 2003 more than 100 candidates ran for office. Arnold Schwarzenegger, also a Republican and celebrity won with 48%.
A poll in late March showed that voters are inclined to keep Newsom in office as opposed to removing him in a recall effort.
A reality TV personality and trans rights activist who described herself as “economically conservative, socially progressive” in a People magazine interview, Jenner has a rocky relationship with the LGBT community for her support of former President Donald Trump in 2016. However, when Trump made the decision to reverse trans access to public school bathrooms and banned trans people from serving in the U.S. military, she criticized him for it.
As a first-time candidate, Jenner has many unknowns about her positions on critical issues such as handling the pandemic, and slowing down the homelessness crisis, AP News reports.
She could also be asked questions regarding 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.
Other Republicans who have announced their intentions to run are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose and businessman John Cox.
Some LGBT activists were not thrilled with Jenner’s potentially historic campaign.
“Make no mistake: we can’t wait to elect a #trans governor of California,” Equality California tweeted. “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.”
Meanwhile Wyatt Ronan of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Los Angeles Times Jenner “is not the leader California needs.”
“Her support of Donald Trump, the most virulent and vocal anti-LGBTQ president in American history, and her decision to hire Trump’s inner circle for her campaign are just two examples why,” he said.