Caitlyn Jenner is running for governor of California to ‘turn the state around’, she said on Wednesday, insisting that being a political outsider is helpful in her battle to defeat Governor Gavin Newsom.
The 71-year-old gold medal-winning Olympic athlete and reality TV star spoke to Sean Hannity on Wednesday, in her first interview on the race.
Jenner, who has never held political office, surprised many when she announced on April 23 that she was taking on the embattled Democrat.
No date has yet been set for the contest, but it will likely take place in the fall, and Jenner, a conservative, will face some serious Republican competition.
She describes herself not as a Republican, but as ‘a compassionate disrupter’, saying: ‘I played around with that term.
‘I think I am more of a thoughtful disrupter. I see what is going on.
‘I have always been on the Republican side as I have conservative economic values.
‘Socially I have been much more progressive all my life. I get it. People need help.
‘But you can’t have social programs without a strong economy.’
She added: ‘I can get along with everyone. I don’t care if you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, vegetarian.’
Caitlyn Jenner spoke to Sean Hannity on Wednesday night to discuss the race for governor
Jenner, 71, announced on April 23 that she was running for governor
He is facing a recall election, after the 1.495 million-signature threshold on a petition for his recall, launched in February 2020, was easily passed.
Newsom, 53, has been governor of the wealthiest and most populous state in the country since January 2019.
Jenner described herself as ‘a fighter’ who wants the best for her state.
In a slick new campaign advert, Jenner described the race as ‘perhaps my most important yet’, and said she wanted to ‘bring back the gold to the Golden State’.
‘I want to take that same fight, that same spirit, go to Sacramento, surround myself with some of the smartest people out there – I am an outsider. I understand that – smartest people out there, because now I’m in a race for solutions.
‘I need to find solutions to be able to turn this state around.
‘I absolutely love this state. I’m a fighter. Always have been.’
She promised to bring ‘compassion, honesty and leadership’ to the role.
Jenner said she was in favor of reforming the immigration system, but was opposed to sanctuary cities.
‘I am pro law enforcement, pro border patrol, pro ICE,’ she said.
Jenner is seen speaking at the Women’s March in Los Angeles on January 18, 2020
Jenner spoke to Hannity on Wednesday night for her first interview about her candidacy
Jenner said that she would support resumption of the border wall with Mexico, describing it as a useful tool in stemming migration.
‘I am all for the wall, I would secure the wall,’ she said.
‘We can’t have a state, we can’t have a country without a secure wall.
‘You have two questions here. One is stopping people from coming in illegally into the state.
‘And then the second question is, what do we do with the people that are here? We are a compassionate country, okay? We are a compassionate state.
‘Some help, I mean, some people we’re going to send back, okay, no question about that. But I have met some of the greatest immigrants into our country.’
Jenner also addressed her role as a transgender icon.
Jenner will take on incumbent Gavin Newsom in the vote, likely held in November
Jenner is seen training for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics, held in Montreal
On Saturday, Jenner said she was opposed to trans girls competing in sports teams that match their gender identity – a topic which has become a political flashpoint among conservatives across the country.
‘This is a question of fairness,’ Jenner told TMZ.
‘That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.’
Jenner soon drew backlash from LGBTQ groups and later tweeted: ‘I’m clear about where I stand. It’s an issue of fairness and we need to protect girls’ sports in our schools.’
She told Hannity: ‘We have to stick to the integrity in sports.’
But, pressed on her views, she said: ‘There are more pressing issues in the state of California than that.’
Jenner then told of having to evacuate her home during wild fires, saying it was ‘terrifying’ and saying more should be done to upgrade the power grid.
‘We need an early detection system – I’ve seen so many in Malibu, I’ve lived there for 48 years. The biggest thing is to jump on the fires quick, before they get out of control.’
She said that forest management was ‘extremely important’, and supported a controlled burn.
The sporting star added that she embraced the idea of her as a role model.
‘For me as a transwoman, I think role models are extremely important for young people,’ she said.
‘Trans issues, people struggle with big time, our suicide rate is nine times higher than the general public.
‘And for me to be a role model, for them, to be out there.
‘I am running for governor of the state of California, who would ever thunk that? We’ve never even had a woman governor.’
Several other prominent Republicans have already announced their intention to run.
A frontrunner is Kevin Faulconer, a moderate who was twice elected mayor of San Diego.
Businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom by 24 points in 2018, and former Rep. Doug Ose, who last won an election in 2002, are also running.