NEW YORK The reconfirmation of Gavin Newsom at the helm of California will have to pass by an unexpected challenger: Caitlyn Jenner. Reality TV star with Kim Kardashian, gold in the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics ’76, American transgender icon, at 71 Jenner announced his candidacy among the Republicans. The goal is to win the “recall election”, the early election to 2021, compared to the natural deadline of November 8, 2022, in which voters can end the governor’s term in advance through a vote requested by petition.
So far, more than one and a half million signatures have been collected. The story recalls the precedent of 2003 when the faded governor Gray Davis was rejected in the “recall election” by Californians, who preferred a Hollywood star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last Republican to win. It will not be easy to repeat. Democrat Newsom, after a period of crisis, rose in the polls, coinciding with the marked improvement in data related to the pandemic. According to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, only forty percent of voters are in favor of an early vote and more than fifty percent approve of the governor’s work. But Jenner can have an unpredictable impact, given the short time to campaign: she is a tv celebrity, reality star with Kim Kardashian, and civil rights activist, in defense of transgender people. “We need an honest guide with a clear vision – he wrote in his first official statement – to bring back to the Golden State that glow that a single party has reduced, putting politics above the interests of the people”.
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Born in New York State as William Bruce Jenner, a past football champion and decathlete, the former athlete announced his gender transition in 2015, at the age of 66. She has since adopted the name Caitlyn, and officially changed the genus. It was during that time that she became a star of a reality show, “I Am Cait”, focused on the theme of the transition of sexual identity, and that made her the most famous transgender woman in the world. A supporter of Donald Trump, Jenner distanced herself from him in 2018 after the former president’s decision to ban transgender students from choosing at school which bathroom to go to. “My hopes for him were misplaced,” Jenner commented.
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She will not be the Trumpian candidate, nor of that part of the electorate not inclined to transgender issues, but she is a character who will catalyse media attention in the coming months, a decisive aspect in a state as large as California. He will not have the support of Trump, but he will be able to count on some of his old advisers. At the head of a personal wealth of more than one hundred million dollars, Jenner has set up a super team formed by the king of conservative pollsters Tony Fabrizio, strategists Ryan Erwin and Tyler Deaton, who have worked with Trump in the past. The communication was entrusted to Steven Cheung, former adviser to the tycoon, and man who led the campaign of the very Schwarzenegger whose success Jenner hopes to repeat.