On Tuesday, sources close to former Olympian and reality tv star Caitlyn Jenner said that she is currently talking to Republican political consultants about running for Governor in the 2021 recall election.
According to Axios and Deadline, Jenner is currently being assisted by longtime GOP fundraiser Caroline Webb, who had previously worked at Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee for the 2020 Trump reelection campaign, last year. Jenner met Webb through their work in the GOP LGBT American Unity Fund organization.
Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, first reached the national stage in the 1970’s as a decathlon athlete, winning a gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. After retiring from athletics, Jenner went into the entertainment industry, appearing in several tv shows and films. Jenner reached new levels of notoriety following her appearances on the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. More recently, she has become known for for her gender transition, formally becoming Caitlyn Jenner in 2015. Since then she has been regarded as one of the most famous trans and LGBT people in the world.
Politically, Jenner would enter the Governor’s race with no prior political experience beyond being a trans and LGBT advocate and fundraiser, a Republican supporter, and a near-run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 against Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Jenner was also known in political circles for endorsing Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for president in 2016 despite him not supporting gender transition and later supporting former President Donald Trump until 2018 when she dropped support of him over his changing stances of trans and LGBT issues. Despite this, Jenner has remained one of the best known trans and LGBT GOP supporters in the country.
The recall election against Governor Gavin Newsom, which is expected to be made official later this month after recall petition verification is complete, has already attracted many prominent Republicans including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 2018 Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, and former Congressman Doug Ose. Another LGBT candidate, the openly gay former Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, is also currently mulling a run and has even topped some straw polling of potential candidates. However, the possible addition of Jenner is already being compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s run in the 2003 recall by having a major celebrity join in the race and heavily influence voters in their decision. Jenner’s trans and LGBT background is also being mentioned as a big deciding factor for many voters.
A possible run for a major trans candidate
“This is huge for us,” noted Ann Cardinale, a trans woman who helps consult with trans and LGBT candidates running as Republicans.
“And this just goes to show you that Republicans are much more diversified than people think. Granted, there are many in the party that don’t like trans or LGBT friendly laws and policies, but for us, we look at it being one issue out of dozens. I’ve had talks with many trans people from the military who are the gung-ho, pro-gun, pro-church, anti-abortion types who just plain hate that people assume that just because they are transgender that they are automatically a Democrat. It doesn’t work like that.
“No, it’s not black and white. You can be a member of a party and not agree with everything. Look at (former Senator) John McCain and (Senator) Susan Collins (R-ME). Log Cabin Republicans are a growing faction within the party, many of whom are completely for the platform except on trans and LGBT issues.
“There are plenty of reasons not to support Jenner if she does run. Lack of political experience is up there. But she is representative of change in the GOP. And she might win. She can bring in a lot of votes from a lot of different demographics thanks to her life and background.”
“Plus, how incredible would it be that the first major elected trans person in US history would be a Republican? It would drive Democrats bonkers.”
“I know she’s only looking now, and she’s not the strongest politically to go into the election, but just the fact that she is would bring a lot of people into the race, especially the California LGBT scene who would come out in support of her and against Newsom. Even Republicans vehemently opposed to gender transition wouldn’t oppose to that.”
Jenner is expected to give a more formal announcement soon on a possible recall election run.
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