OAKLAND – Fox News host Sean Hannity is heading to Malibu this week for GOP governor candidate Caitlyn Jenner’s first major television appearance since announcing last month that she would run for the recall in California.
Hannity’s event with Jenner is planned as a “town hall” event that will take place in front of a live audience in the Southern California city, sources familiar with the campaign confirm.
The event is closed to media and the public, although some GOP loyalists in California have been invited to the session. The event will air at 6 p.m. PT on Wednesday, the time slot of Hannity’s regular nighttime show.
GOP strategist Tim Rosales said Jenner’s meeting with Hannity, one of the most influential people on the right, provided her with an invaluable opportunity to reach a loyal GOP audience with her message for the first time. But with that comes pressure “to define himself with Republican voters in California,” he said.
While Jenner will likely focus on Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, she also has to compete with three more experienced Republican candidates on the recall so far, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox. and former rep Doug Ose.
The California recall format will ask voters two questions: first, do they want to recall Newsom; and second, who do they want to replace it with if the recall is successful. The winner could emerge with a relatively weak plurality of votes if enough candidates share support – and if voters want to oust the Democratic governor.
“The point is, with that many candidates, it might be 20 or 25 percent of the vote that is actually the deciding factor” to beat Newsom, Rosales said. “She has to define herself within some sort of base – and I think this is her chance to do so.”
Yet one of the biggest challenges for Jenner – and for all Republican candidates – is for Newsom’s poll numbers to rise as the state recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, Rosales said.
While Hannity will likely amplify criticism from the Democratic governor, Jenner will have to fill the voids on his stance on governance of the world’s fifth-largest economy on Wednesday.