Republican Caitlyn Jenner says she will run for governor of California.
The US Olympian-turned-celebrity said in a statement posted on Friday (local time) on Twitter that she has filed initial paperwork to run for the post, announcing “I’m in” on Twitter as she joined a growing list of candidates seeking to oust Governor Gavin Newsom from office.
“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.
Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision,” Jenner said in a statement announcing her ‘Caitlyn for California’ candidacy.
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a likely recall election this year.
Election officials are still reviewing petition signatures required to qualify the recall for the ballot.
Several other Republicans have also announced plans to run, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former US representative Doug Ose and businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in the 2018 governor’s race.
The race had failed to attract a nationally recognised contender before the entrance of the 71-year-old Jenner, who won the decathlon in the 1976 Summer Olympics and is widely known from television shows Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the spin-off I Am Cait that debuted after she came out as a transgender woman in 2015
The celebrity activist described herself as “economically conservative, socially progressive” in a People magazine interview last year.
Though transgender politicians have been elected to office in recent years, Jenner is the most prominent to try, as she seeks one of the most powerful offices in the country.
Her run would come nearly two decades after the ascendancy of Arnold Schwarzenegger, another Republican who used his Hollywood fame as a springboard to the state’s highest office in a 2003 recall election.
Jenner is untested as a candidate and little is known about her positions on critical issues facing the state, from the coronavirus pandemic to managing the economy.
Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego, noted that voters have embraced non-traditional candidates in the past, including Schwarzenegger.
But Jenner will face long odds because of her links to former president Donald Trump in the heavily Democratic state, while also lacking an established political constituency.
Still, she has “the ability to directly reach out to millions of voters” through social media, Mr Kousser said.
“It would be a mistake to view her as one of these ‘circus candidates’.”