Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympic decathlete and reality television star, has filed paperwork to challenge California’s governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election.
Jenner, a US sports icon and gold medal winner in 1976, gained reality television fame after appearing in Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a series that began in 2007.
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The longtime Republican, born Bruce Jenner, publicly transitioned beginning in 2015. She had been a Trump supporter, but broke with the former president after he undid federal guidelines that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice.
“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 statement announcing her candidacy. “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.”
She added: “In the next few weeks, I will meet with Californians from across the state – from the North Bay to the Central Valley to Orange County and San Diego – to hear their voices and finally get this state moving in the right direction.
“The significance of this decision is not lost on me. The sacrifice is significant, but responsibility is great, and I can’t wait to lead, to help and most importantly to disrupt the status quo once again.”
Jenner has assembled a team of top Republican operatives, including former members of Trump’s campaign and White House team, Axios news reported. They include Steven Cheung, a former Trump communications staffer who worked on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s successful 2003 recall campaign, the news site reported.
She is expected to present herself as socially liberal, and fiscally conservative, saying in her announcement that: “Taxes are too high, killing jobs, hurting families, and putting an especially heavy burden on our most vulnerable people.”
In June 2020, opponents of the Democratic governor, Newsom, began submitting signatures supporting an election recall, citing what they called his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, among other criticism. The California secretary of state is currently validating that those signatures meet the threshold to trigger the recall election.
Newsom, who was elected in 2018, has blamed the effort on Republicans bristling at coronavirus restrictions.