With early voting underway in Republican voters in La Quinta.
The campaigns of Newsom and the bevy of candidates seeking to replace him are in full swing, with the Sept. 14 election less than a month away and mail-in ballots heading to registered voters this week.
Jenner, who paused her campaign last month to shoot “Celebrity Big Brother” in Australia, has renewed outreach efforts in recent days. Last week, she started a tour of Republican, spoke to a crowd of more than 50 Republican Party members Monday in La Quinta, all of whom had to reserve their spots to attend. She touched on a wide range of issues during the event, largely criticizing Newsom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the state’s overall business climate.
“In the future, if you want to get rid of a regulation on the books, what three do you want to get (in order to) add one more?” Jenner said, adding that she would support 10-year sunset provisions for many of the state’s environmental regulations.
With the delta variant of COVID-19 on the rise nationwide, Jenner also criticized vaccine mandates announced by Newsom earlier this month. Jenner, who noted she has been vaccinated against COVID-19, said she was “100% in support of individual freedom” in the public health realm.
“I don’t want overbearing government telling me what to do,” Jenner said. “We’re all smart in this room. We know what’s going on in our bodies. We can each make the decision on whether we want to be vaccinated or not.”
Jenner, who won the Olympic decathlon in 1976 as a man and decades later came out as a transgender woman, has failed to gain much traction as a candidate in several recent polls so far. For example, just 3% of respondents said they would support Jenner in a recent poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.
Jenner, who announced her candidacy for governor in the spring, said she welcomed other candidates, because they are all working toward the same goal: recalling Newsom.
“No matter what happens, I want to expose what’s going on in Republican on the ballot — and her Monday appearance before a Republican group — Jenner has also sent mixed signals about her political status, telling CNN in May she was “kind of on the Republican side.”
She struck a different tone Monday. While taking questions from the audience, Jenner responded to a question about the credibility of the 2020 presidential election by calling it a “disgrace” and echoing unsubstantiated claims that its results were tainted.
“There was so much corruption that honestly, the Democrats made it so bad that they don’t even know how they messed it up so bad,” Jenner said, adding without evidence that she believes Trump “probably did” win the election.
Jenner was the third candidate to speak to the La Quinta Republican group, following visits from GOP State Assemblymember Kevin Kiley and talk show host Larry Elder in recent weeks.
Although Jenner has struggled in recent polls, at least some in attendance were still open to supporting the former Olympian in her run for governor. Terry Haytack, a member of the Republican group donning a “Vote Newsom Out!” button, said she was leaning toward supporting Elder, but she still wanted to hear from Jenner.
“As a group, we listen to everybody who is a Republican, but we don’t make a decision as a group,” Haytack said before Jenner’s speech. “I think it’ll be very interesting to hear (Caitlyn), because she’s a life-long Republican … I’m anxious to hear her.”