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Caitlyn Jenner is running for governor

The Olympic great will challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom in this year’s anticipated recall election.

2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
Caitlyn Jenner is looking to follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Caitlyn Jenner announced Friday she will challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom in this fall’s expected recall election, making the Olympic great one of the most high-profile openly transgender people to ever run for public office in the U.S.

Newsom, a Democrat, has been scrutinized for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. California has the nation’s 29th-highest Covid-19 death rate and fifth-highest unemployment rate.

“This isn’t the California we know. This is Gavin Newsom’s California, where he orders us to stay home but goes out to dinner with his lobbyist friends,” Jenner wrote in her tweet, announcing the launch of her campaign,

Last year, Newsom was photographed dining with a large group at a $350 per plate restaurant after urging Californians to stay home for Thanksgiving.

“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 said in her statement. “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.”

Despite criticism against Newsom, the recall effort faces an uphill climb. Polls show just over 40 percent of the state’s voters support the effort, but organizers say they’ve exceeded the 1.5 million signatures needed to trigger a recall election.

Jenner, 71, is a Republican and publicly supported Donald Trump for president in 2016; she also attended his inauguration. Two years later, she renounced her support due to the Trump administration’s anti-transgender policies.

The two-time gold medalist has met with several former Trump advisors, according to Axios. Politico reported she’s only voted just nine times in California’s 26 statewide elections since 2000; not in 2016 when Trump ran, not in 2018 when Newsom cruised to a landslide victory.

Even though her inexperience in politics has brought comparisons to the successful campaign of bodybuilder turned actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, he at least had taken a public stand on education issues before he ran for governor following the 2003 recall of Gray Davis, and won. Jenner has mostly stayed out of politics since telling managing editor Dawn Ennis she hoped Ted Cruz would win in 2016 so she could serve as his trans ambassador.

In another interview with Ennis last year, Jenner expressed disinterest in politics.

“Politics is something I don’t talk about any longer,” she said.

Now she wants to be governor.