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Jenner’s first week of recall campaign: publicity, interviews, politics

Caitlyn Jenner discovered this week that running for governor is harder than appearing on reality TV.

In her first big TV interview – an on-air hug on Fox News’ “Hannity” show Wednesday – Jenner lamented that a friend left California because he hates seeing “the homeless” when he walking down the street. She was interviewed in her private aircraft hangar. The friend has one too. But he’s packing for a move to Sedona, Arizona.

When asked by TMZ on Sunday whether trans girls should be allowed to participate in sports, the 71-year-old said, “It’s just not fair. And we need to protect girls’ sport in our schools. Yet the transgender Olympic athlete has competed in women’s golf tournaments, particularly the ANA Inspiration LPGA Tour tournament at Rancho Mirage.

Jenner did not answer the question about the LPGA tournament during an interview with The Times Thursday. A campaign assistant ended the interview and then responded to a follow-up emailed question: “Caitlyn was playing in a charity tournament with LPGA pros where everyone was playing from the same tee. It’s disappointing that some want to use a charity event politically. “

Jenner announced on April 23 that she was racing to topple Gov. Gavin Newsom in the upcoming recall election, but it was the Republican’s first week of active campaigning. She gave three major interviews – to conservative commentator Sean Hannity, CNN and the Los Angeles Times. She posted her first ad. And she’s beefed up her campaign website.

Jenner and her campaign staff are struggling to get past the OMG phase of her candidacy – OMG, another famous politician! OMG, a transgender woman running for office! They want to talk politics, spot the big problems facing this great state, and tell voters how the candidate would work to solve them.

In the 2003 recall, with 135 gubernatorial candidates of varying fame, only Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to bring fame back to substance with success. And that’s because the former Mr. Universe / Conan / Terminator had spent the previous year campaigning statewide for Proposition 49, a move to increase funding for before and after school programs. . It was his first political victory.

“The four candidates who obtained more than 1% of the vote [in the 2003 recall] all participated in the national elections the previous year, ”said Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California.

Proposition 49, Baldassare said, gave Schwarzenegger “not only the visibility, but the opportunity to find out what the size of the state and the different media markets were, what the challenges were, and how to spend his time and energy. “.

Jenner has opened up about her new life as a trans woman for two seasons on E! in a documentary series called “I Am Cait”. His political activism has focused on LGBTQ issues.

Her announcement, released on Tuesday, won’t do much to push Jenner beyond fame and gender issues. On a substantial level, it’s beautifully done, three minutes and filled with scenes of what Jenner considers the former glory of California, displaying a dystopian take on homeless settlements, closed schools and closed businesses, all compliments of Newsom.

But it starts with the perfectly groomed and groomed candidate looking for her home in Malibu for the gold medal she won as the decathlon champion at the 1976 Olympics. There’s a video of Jenner triumphantly. , crossing the finish line, and the current candidate, long hair blowing in the breeze, gazing at the golden foothills of California.

Until Tuesday, all you could do on her campaign website was buy the “Caitlyn for California” loot – beer cozies, wine glasses, t-shirts and more – or make a donation to his nascent candidacy. Now he offers a list of “solutions” to what is suffering in California. They lack detail and resemble those posted by his three Republican rivals: businessman John Cox, former Rep. Doug Ose and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Speaking to The Times on Thursday, Jenner expanded on some of his proposals on the governance of the world’s fifth largest economy.

On her website, Jenner promises that as governor she “would veto any tax increase.” Period. “But the state legislature has a veto-proof Democratic majority. Jenner acknowledged that cutting taxes in a deep blue state like California” would be very difficult, but it can be done. “

“As governor, I cannot reduce taxes. I cannot, for example, draft a bill, reduce taxes, ”she said. But she noted that “so far we have a surplus of about $ 16 billion this year. In the state. People don’t realize it. There is a lot of income there. Maybe we need to give back, give that back to some of the people who contributed to it, to give them some relief. It’s number 1. I can do something like this.

On Wednesday, on Fox News’ “Hannity”, she said that as governor, she would build the border wall with Mexico to stop illegal immigration.

“I’m all for the wall,” she told the supportive host. “I would secure the wall. We cannot have a state – we cannot have a country without a safe wall. “

But on Thursday, when the Times asked her how she would build the wall – it falls under federal jurisdiction, not state – she shrugged off the question and tipped into a pandemic.

“First of all, I think the most important thing right now is to open up this state,” she said. She blamed Newsom for doing a “horrible job” to end state lockdowns. And she praised Florida for the way it has handled the pandemic.

“Disney World in Orlando, Florida opened last July, nine months ago,” she said. “Disneyland in Anaheim opened last week. Just think over that nine month period of all the jobs that were lost in the Anaheim area. “

She said California officials “could have opened things up safely much faster, especially schools. This is the # 1 thing. We kept these schools closed for a year. The impact this will have on these children will last the rest of their lives. And it never should have happened.

Jenner received her second injection of the COVID-19 vaccine about a week ago and has said she is a staunch supporter of the vaccine. When asked how she would persuade those who were hesitant to get vaccinated, she objected.

“It’s a personal choice,” Jenner said. “It’s your medical history. It’s your decision. I don’t want the government to get involved. We’ve done a great job of making vaccines available to people, and it’s so easy to do. But it’s your decision and no one else’s.

Jenner said her first active campaign week had been “a little hectic, but very good.” And, as she wondered how people would react to her candidacy, she said, what she has seen so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

“California has never even had a female governor,” she said. And “here I am, little Caitlyn. I have lived my life authentically for the past six years. I have never been so happy. Things have never been so good. And I never could have done that in my old life.

It was a topic she also touched on during Hannity’s interview on Wednesday.

“You told me Bruce Jenner couldn’t do that, which you as Caitlyn Jenner do, is run for Governor,” Hannity said, asking his final question. “What did you mean by that?”

Jenner sighed. On break. And tiptoe in a three-minute monologue about God and family, secrets and lies, the things that have held her back and the hope she has for the future.

“When you deal with gender dysphoria it affects you all your life,” she began. “I mean, you’re a little kid, you wonder – I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and nobody knew what it was, there wasn’t even a name.

“And so, all my life I have struggled with this problem,” she said. “I sneaked in. I was not honest with myself – often not honest with others. … I can be myself now – I couldn’t do it before, because I had too many secrets.

She talked about sitting down with her pastor, struggling to understand why God put her, a woman, in a man’s body, what her purpose was on this earth, whether she was doing the right thing. . These questions, she said, were “always in my heart”.

“After much thought, I said, ‘You know what? At this point in my life my kids are being brought up, everyone is fine. Maybe it’s time I took care of myself, ”she told Hannity.

“Because when that day comes, and you go up the pearly doors, and you go up the stairs, and you see God before you, and you just ask this question, ‘Did I do a good job? Did I do the right thing? And I just hope he says, ‘Hey, come in.’ “

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