Olympic gold-medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner has filed paperwork to run for governor of California as a Republican, Axios reports. She would be the first transgender governor in the U.S. if she wins.
“Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision,” she said in a statement. “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, a former Trump supporter, is one of the best-known trans people in America, but she has been a lightning rod for criticism among LGBTQ people. She has made waves for her tactless comments and support for the Republican party while it relentlessly attacks the trans community.
Now she’s launching a possible career in politics by entering the race to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in a recall election.
But she will reportedly downplay her past support for Donald Trump in the blue state, hoping that her celebrity status will help her win. A campaign staffer, who Axios did not name, said she has more name-recognition than Gov. Newsom and that “will go to every possible demographic you could think of.”
Jenner said that her campaign will focus on stock conservative issues in the state, calling taxes “too high” and denouncing public health measures.
“This is Gavin Newsom’s California, where he orders us to stay home but goes out to dinner with his lobbyist friends,” she said.
Jenner has already put together a team of GOP operatives. Axios says former Trump campaign strategists like Tony Fabrizio and Brad Parscale have either joined her campaign or helped.
Steven Cheung, a former Trump White House aide, has been hired as well. He has experience from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2003 recall campaign, which made him governor of California.
Jenner’s campaign is expected to launch a website later today.
She isn’t the only LGBTQ candidate who may run for governor. Former out U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is allegedly interviewing campaign strategists and talking to potential major donors and will be ready to pounce according to Politico.
Gov. Newsom has a long history of supporting LGBTQ equality. In 2004, as mayor of San Francisco, he ordered the San Francisco city–county clerk to let same-sex couples get marriage licenses, which was banned by state law at the time.
He said that he had the authority under the California Constitution’s equal protection clause, which he believed the marriage equality ban violated. The California Supreme Court overturned the marriages.
This was over a decade before the Supreme Court would legalize marriage equality in all 50 states with its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, and his move brought national attention to the issue.
“This door’s wide open now. It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not,” he later said about marriage equality.