The former Keeping Up with the Kardashians star is joining the upcoming recall election effort against current Gov. Gavin Newsom

By Sean Neumann
April 23, 2021 10:21 AM
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Caitlyn Jenner announced Friday that she's running to try and become the next governor of California.

"I'm in!" Jenner, 71, wrote in an announcement on Instagram. 

"Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision," she added, taking aim at current Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom, 53, is the state's Democratic leader and has been facing increased criticism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A GOP-fueled campaign recently earned enough signatures across the state to force Newsom to face a recall election. California's last recall election happened in 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won office after ousting Gov. Gray Davis.

The former Keeping Up with the Kardashians star told Axios, who first reported the news Friday, 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."

"California is worth fighting for," Jenner's new Twitter bio also reads.

She is "running as someone that's socially liberal and fiscally conservative," a campaign adviser told Axios.

Jenner has reportedly formed a campaign team with ex-Donald Trump advisers, including Trump's top campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio and former White House communications adviser Steven Cheung. 

Caitlyn jenner
Caitlyn Jenner
| Credit: MediaPunch/Shutterstock

Gearing up for her announcement, Jenner also leaned on Trump's former campaign manager Brad Parscale for advice, according to Axios.

Jenner voiced support for Trump's 2016 campaign and his presidency but then revoked her support after the former president rolled back federal rules protecting transgender individuals' rights to use bathrooms.

"I thought Trump would help trans people," Jenner wrote in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. "I was wrong."

Though reports had circulated that Jenner was considering running for statewide office in California, she denied her plans as recently as February.

Recalls in California pose two challenges for outside candidates: The incumbent must be unpopular enough to be voted out and the outside candidate must consolidate enough support from a likely very crowded field.

And Newsom — who has defended his decisions and said Republican partisanship is behind the recall push — may not be following the trajectory of Gov. Davis.

While The Los Angeles Times reported in February that Newsom's popularity in the state "plummeted" over the past year — with a University of California Berkeley poll showing one-third of Californians supported the effort to remove him from office — the Associated Press also reported in February that 54 percent of Californians still approved of Newsom's leadership, according to another survey.

Newsom previously told The View that he was "worried" about the recall effort gaining support.

"Am I worried about it? Of course I'm worried about it," he said.

"We're taking it seriously," Newsom said on The View. "I have to do my job every single day, but I'm going to fight this thing."