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Grenell still weighs on California recall offer as Republican field grows

Former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell said he is still considering whether to run in the recall election against California Gov. Gavin Newsom. | Darko Vojinovic / AP Photo

Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence under President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday he was still considering whether to run in the recall election against California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Grenell has been largely silent on his recall plans in recent weeks as other GOP candidates have entered the race, including reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. She hired former Trump advisers to help her launch her campaign – including former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale – and it was believed she would try to claim Trump-aligned Republicans in California first.

But Jenner’s campaign struggled to gain traction after a few missteps and a lack of a main constituency behind it. She received 6% support in the first major poll released Tuesday morning, and only 13% of Republicans said they would support her.

“I have until August or September to figure that out,” Grenell told Fox News host Sean Hannity when asked if he would be competing in the race. “We’re thinking about it. My criteria are only long term: How do you fix this long term? How do you make sure it’s not just a flash in the pan?”

“I want to do to California what Stacey Abrams did to Georgia, and I think it’s going to take about four years,” he added before promoting his Fix California political action committee.

Besides Jenner, three prominent Republicans have already said they will run against Newsom: former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Rep. Doug Ose and businessman John Cox. They are all fighting to be the main candidate to replace Newsom. Faulconer entered the race the earliest, but Jenner’s recent foray has garnered the most media attention and public attention.

Faulconer and Cox each polled 22% in the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll released Tuesday. Ose had 14% support. The investigation does not appear to ask questions about Grenell.

California has a low barrier to entry for the recall election, which led to a flood of candidates during Governor Gray Davis’s 2003 recall that saw movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger take the governor’s mansion. An equally important wave of candidates is scheduled for the recall election scheduled for this fall.

Newsom has gained momentum in recent weeks as Covid-19 rates have come down, businesses have started to reopen, and state budget revenues continue to grow. The Berkeley poll found 49% oppose Newsom’s recall, compared with 35% in favor – better numbers than the governor in January.

The recall has yet to be formalized, but supporters have gathered more than enough valid signatures to qualify the election. It will probably be scheduled for the end of October or November.

In the only other recall for state governor in 2003, Schwarzenegger waited until early August to declare his candidacy before winning the October election of the same year.

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