Arnold Schwarzenegger Reacts to 'Good Friend' Caitlyn Jenner Running for Governor of California
"Anyone has a chance," Schwarzenegger told Jimmy Kimmel
"Well, you know, anyone has a chance," said Schwarzenegger, who became the governor of California in 2003 after winning his own recall election. "Because I think the people are dissatisfied with what's going on here."
"The key thing about all of this is it doesn't matter if it's Caitlyn or anyone else — you have a clear vision of where you want to go, what are the kind of changes you want to make and why are you qualified to become governor," he continued. "That's what you have to convince the people. All the other stuff is all nonsense, because the press will attack you no matter who you are. They attacked me. But then in the end I won, so that was the main thing."
Schwarzenegger added that whoever emerges as the governor from the upcoming recall vote — whether it's incumbent Gavin Newsom or a challenger — would have to implement changes to "straighten out all the mess we're in right now."
He also predicted there will be many more candidates throwing their hats into the ring.
"Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision," she added, taking aim at Gov. Newsom, the state's Democratic leader, who has been facing increased criticism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A GOP-fueled petition drive recently earned enough signatures across the state to force Newsom, 53, to face a recall election.
California's last recall happened when Schwarzenegger ousted Gov. Gray Davis.
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Jenner, who is running as a Republican, said in her statement that "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."
She and her aides also took pains to downplay her partisanship, particularly in a state where conservatives have little sway and where former President Donald Trump — with whom Jenner spilt over LGBTQ rights — is widely unpopular.
Jenner cast herself as an "outsider," and an adviser maintained to Axios that she "will talk to anyone, Democrat or Republican. Donald Trump is not going to be the deciding factor for the state of California."
Despite her criticisms of Trump, Jenner has reportedly formed a campaign team with ex-Trump advisers, including his top campaign pollster and a former White House communications adviser.
For his part, Newsom has said he is "worried" about the recall effort but insisted it was driven by politics. Challengers seeking to remove him will first need a majority of voters to vote yes on the recall before selecting his replacement, though polls so far show he may not be as vulnerable as Gov. Davis in 2003.
"I am not going to take this recall attempt lying down," Newsom said in March. "I'm going to fight because there's too much at stake in this moment."
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During his late-night guest appearance, Schwarzenegger was also asked by Kimmel, 53, if Jenner had reached out for advice or for his blessing to run.
"I don't talk about that because just about everyone that is thinking about running has called me," the Terminator star explained. "I'm very good friends with Caitlyn, I have the utmost respect for her, but I'm also very good friends with Gov. Newsom. And I'm good friends with all the other people that have contacted me and have asked me for advice about running or not running and all those kind of things."