Reality TV star and long-time Republican Caitlyn Jenner doesn’t plan to challenge California Governor Gavin Newsom in a potential recall election, Jenner’s manager told Politico in a statement Thursday.
“Caitlyn is not running for governor, has never considered running for governor and is very happy doing the work that she is doing to promote LGBT rights and spending time with her 18 grandchildren and 10 children,” Jenner’s manager said in a statement.
According to Politico, Republicans in California and Washington have been speculating that Jenner would be a formidable opponent for Newsom if the recall election made it to the ballot. Jenner previously floated a run against California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for the 2018 midterm elections, telling talk radio host John Catsimatidis in an interview that politics “has always been very intriguing to me,” reported The Washington Post.
“Over the next six months or so, I’ve got to find out where I can do a better job,” remarked Jenner. “Can I do a better job from the outside, kind of working the perimeter of the political side, being open to talk to anybody? Or are you better off from the inside? We are in the process of determining that. Yeah, but I would look for a senatorial run.”
More recently, Jenner texted Kanye West asking whether he needed a vice president for his last-minute presidential run, Jenner told TMZ. When TMZ followed-up with Jenner, asking “are you going to do it,” Jenner offered a chuckle and simply replied: “We’ll see.”
Jenner voted for then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but then criticized him for his stances on transgender issues in 2018, and pulled back that support in a Washington Post op-ed titled: “I thought Trump would help trans people. I was wrong.”
Thus far, the California recall effort has attracted two major Republican candidates: businessman John Cox, who ran against Newsom in 2018, and Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego. Both have emphasized fixing California in their campaigns.
No major Democrats have entered the race, and major players in the Democratic Party have already come out in support of Newsom, including President Joe Biden — who made a statement of support through White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki — and California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Koulanakis, who is Newsom’s second-in-command.
“Governor Newsom does not deserve to be recalled. And I think it would be shameful for any Democrat to put their name on the ballot to replace them, myself included,” Kounalakis told Fox News on Thursday. “The focus of the Governor, and everyone in elected office right now, should be on vaccinations, getting kids back to school, and people back to work.”
The recall effort requires 1.5 million verified signatures, and has not yet qualified for the ballot, according to organizers.
In 2003, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante jumped into a recall race, even after he ruled it out, and then later accused aides of Governor Gray Davis of trying to undermine his campaign, which he billed as an effort to keep a Democrat in office just as Arnold Schwarzenegger declared he was running as a Republican. Then-California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi promptly jumped into the race, before bowing out, as did Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who ended up gaining the second-most votes of any Democrat, behind Bustamante, who placed third.