Olympic champion and former reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner is exploring the idea to run for governor in California.
The announcement, first reported by Axios, comes as current Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall election. General GOP dislike of Newsom heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of the state’s strict restrictions on the economy. Opinions further soured when Newsom was revealed to have attended an unmasked indoor dinner party at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. However, a poll from last month by Emerson College Polling and Nexstar found not enough California voters supported the recall effort. On the other hand, a majority of those polled said they would support another candidate at the end of his term in 2022.
Jenner, who has never held office, is being assisted by Caroline Wren. The longtime GOP fundraiser first met Jenner through her work with the American Unity Fund, a conservative nonprofit organization focused on LGBTQ issues.
The news comes as Arkansas became the first state to ban physicians from providing gender-affirming treatments for minors. The Republican-controlled state legislature overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of HB 1570, which banned youth gender reassignment surgeries and hormone supplements for anyone under 18.
The Golden State is no stranger to spawning entertainment-bred political candidates. Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966 and again in 1970, paving the way to his two-term presidency, during which he greatly escalated the War on Drugs, set the drinking age to 21 and left the AIDS epidemic unaddressed for four years. A few decades later, Arnold Schwarzenegger followed in Reagan’s steps and pivoted careers. The actor and bodybuilder served as California governor from 2003 to 2011 and left office with a 23 percent approval rating. Actor Gary Coleman and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt were among the over 100 candidates who ran against Schwarzenegger in the 2003 election.
More recently, “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon ran for the New York governor Democratic nomination, but lost to incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Also with NYC roots, “Saturday Night Live” alum Al Franken became a Democratic senator for Minnesota in 2009. He resigned from office due to sexual harassment allegations in 2017. Minnesota also saw the election of former actor and wrestler Jesse Ventura to the governor’s office; he served 1999 to 2003.
Jenner’s representatives were not available for comment.