Los Angeles, United States:
Olympic champion and Kardashian clan member Caitlyn Jenner said on Friday she had filed papers to run for governor of California in an effort to become the first transgender American to win such a high-profile post.
“I’m inside!” The 71-year-old transgender icon and former decathlete said in a statement, adding that she will formally launch her campaign – presumably as a Republican – in the coming weeks.
Jenner is the most famous non-politician to run for governor of California since Hollywood legend Arnold Schwarzenegger landed a shocking victory as a Republican in the 2003 recall election in the heavily Democratic state. He served as governor for more than seven years.
Jenner’s offering is considered by many experts.
But it comes as Gavin Newsom, a kindly 53-year-old Democrat from San Francisco, faces a backlash against his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, most notably his stay-at-home order that has hit businesses and families hard in the state.
California is expected to hold its second recall election this year, as the state’s anti-Newsom petition seems well on its way to securing the necessary number of signatures to trigger a recall vote.
“I am a proven winner and the only outsider who can end Gavin Newsom’s disastrous stint as governor,” Jenner said in the statement.
He noted how Newsom attended a now infamous lunch last year with lobbyists at an opulent Napa Valley restaurant during a partial blockade.
“Small businesses have been devastated by the overly restrictive lockdown (and) an entire generation of children have lost a year of education and been prevented from going back to school, participating in activities or socializing with their friends,” he said. said. .
Jenner said she planned to “reverse this state and finally clean up the damage Newsom has done.”
Jenner first found fame at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, winning a gold medal by the name of Bruce Jenner before his transition in 2015.
She was previously married to Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family whose TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been a 20-year success.
Her transition to Caitlyn Jenner was documented on the show’s cameras and helped introduce her to a new generation of supporters.
– “Hollywood B-list” –
Jenner, who in the interviews described herself as “economically conservative, socially progressive”, did not refer to the Republican Party in the statement confirming her candidacy.
Initially supportive of President Donald Trump, in 2018 he wrote an editorial for the Washington Post accusing him of using the trans community as “political pawns.”
“I don’t support Trump,” he wrote.
But several US media reports claimed that Jenner had met with veteran Republican strategists before submitting his candidacy.
Steven Maviglio, Gov. Gray Davis’ press officer during his defeat to Schwarzenegger in 2003, said it was clear from Jenner’s immediate attacks on Newsom that “just outside the gate, she presents herself as a conservative Republican.
“He might not say it, but it’s pretty clear where he’s going to run from,” he told AFP.
Traditional Republican politicians, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, have already announced they will run for governor in what will likely be a fiercely crowded field.
Voters would be asked if Newsom – a Democrat – should go, and who they want to replace him if he does.
The Democratic party has broadly supported Newsom, with no indication of a race against him from within the ranks so far.
But California’s low barrier to entry in the recall election means that dozens or even hundreds of candidates from outside the political arena could enter, as was the case in 2003.
Maviglio said: “Schwarzenegger had an image of being bold, brash and action-oriented, and that’s what voters were looking for at the time: someone who would take control, who had stature.
“I don’t think Caitlyn Jenner has it. It’s kind of a Hollywood B-list.”