Caitlyn Jenner officially launched her campaign for California governor on Friday, saying in a statement: “I’m in!”
The announcement came as the Olympic gold medal winner-turned reality TV star filed paperwork to enter the race in the expected recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom later this year.
“California has been my home for nearly 50 years. I came here because I knew that anyone, regardless of their background or station in life, could turn their dreams into reality. But 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, who is a Republican, said.
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The reality star was referring to California’s majority Democratic leadership and population.
According to a February report from the state, California has 22.1 million registered voters. The numbers show 46.2 percent of those voters are Democrats, 24.1 percent Republicans and 23.7 percent are independents.
Jenner, 71, went on to call Newsom’s time in office “disastrous,” and criticized his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Small businesses have been devastated because of the over-restrictive lockdown. An entire generation of children have lost a year of education and have been prevented from going back to school, participating in activities, or socializing with their friends,” she said.
Led by Republicans, the recall campaign has focused on Newsom’s strict lockdown orders, schools requiring distance learning instead of in-person classes, and businesses permanently shuttering after months of closures.
Still, the restrictions have helped move California from worst to first, with the the state now having the lowest COVID-19 infection rate in the continental U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
California’s current seven-day rate of new cases is 40.3 per 100,000 people, that’s much lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3. The only state with a lower rate is Hawaii at 39.
Newsom backers released a statement Friday in response to Jenner’s announcement, essentially calling her campaign a joke.
“We always knew the Republican recall would be a ludicrous circus full of Trump supporters, which only reinforces how much Californians appreciate Governor Newsom’s competent, compassionate, experienced leadership during an unprecedented series of crises,” Newsom political adviser Dan Newman said a statement.
Jenner became famous after winning a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games. She later married Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner and co-starred on the reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In 2015, Jenner came out as a transgender woman.