Recall candidate and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner announced her return to the campaign trail on Monday, starting with visits to Southern California later this week.
Last month, Jenner faced widespread criticism for going to Australia to film the reality show ‘Big Brother VIP’. Many charged Jenner with no longer caring to be Governor, with others lambasting her for going despite COVID-19 quarantines in place in Australia and the worldwide surge of the delta variant of the virus. However, Jenner defended herself by saying that filming the show was a prior commitment and that she would be back for a bus tour.
“I have not paused my campaign at all. I am preparing to launch a multi-week bus tour across CA,” tweeted Jenner in July. “I am honoring a work commitment that I had made prior to even deciding to run for governor. There is no pause at all on this race to save CA! My campaign team is in full operation as am I. I am in this race to win for California, because it is worth fighting for.”
However, in roughly the month she was gone, many candidates have surpassed her in terms of support. According to the latest poll, radio host Larry Elder currently holds a commanding lead among recall candidates with 23%. Jenner, meanwhile, has only received 3% and 7% support according to the last two polls, the July 2021 Berkeley survey and the August 2021 Emerson survey respectively. With Jenner now well behind Elder and facing competition from other closely polling candidates such as former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 2018 GOP Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin), she plans to now make a big push in the final month of campaigning.
While initially announced as a bus stop tour, Jenner will now instead have a jet-stop tour to quicken her pace and make up for lost time. She will begin on Thursday in the Venice district of Los Angeles to address Governor Gavin Newsom’s homelessness and gun policies, followed by a Friday event at the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego that will touch on immigration and border security.
“Our first stop is going to be Venice Beach. We want to talk to law enforcement down there, community leaders, and Venice kind of the epicenter of the homeless crisis in Los Angeles,” said Jenner in a statement late last month. “We’re going to discuss with them what’s going on down there and, more importantly, how we can fix it. We need to take back and regulate our public spaces. It is not working right now.”
Jenner back from down under
Jenner also spun the criticism leveraged against her for going to Australia in the middle of an election by saying she managed to get a lot of election work done when not filming.
“I’ve got more campaign work done down here than at home because I have no distractions,” added Jenner. “It’s actually been very good since this pandemic, we’ve learned that you can work remotely and get a lot of things done.”
However, with her poll numbers in the single digits and her fundraising right now in the red by roughly $150,000, Jenner faces an uphill battle to gain lost ground.
“She’s not like Larry Elder and can afford to miss a debate or election event here and there,” explained Harry Schultz, a former lobbyist who was active during the 2003 recall election, to the Globe on Monday. “Nor is she like Gavin Newsom, who can pretty much ring the cash register any time he wants to put out an ad. Her campaign is lagging behind, and a lot of potential voters are still not trusting her. Many saw her as giving up when she went to Australia, so she has that to worry about to. Could you imagine if Trump or Biden took a month off to travel to France or something? That’s the level at where people see this.”
“And let’s not forget Elder. He’s pulling way ahead right now and has really been enticing those SoCal voters who would normally go for someone like her. They just like Elder and others now. That’s not to say she can’t come back, but based on the lay of the land right now, it will be difficult to say the least.”
It is currently unknown if Jenner plans to take part in any other candidate debates later this month.