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SAN DIEGO – Vying to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom, Republican gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner on Monday took aim at the governor’s pandemic response, saying she would have opened California “months and months ago.”

“Disney World in Orlando, Florida opened up last July,” Jenner said. “Disneyland here in California opened up last month to a limited opening. We could have done it better. This was a delicate balance between science, the economy and public health.”

Jenner, the 71-year-old former Olympian and reality TV show star, headlined the event held by the Republican Party of San Diego County at Mission Valley’s Town and Country Hotel. She was joined by four other gubernatorial candidates — Anthony Trimino, Sarah Stephens, Jenny Rae Le Roux and Joseph Luciano — and Elizabeth Heng, a Republican challenging for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Alex Padilla.

A recall election for Newsom is likely to take place this fall, and the list of opponents already is long. Some of the notable names include Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Jenner announced her run to replace Newsom in April, arguing that, “Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision.” She released a series of policy priorities last month, including housing, homelessness, the pandemic recovery and stopping new and higher taxes.

On Monday, she argued that there can be no “healthy America with a sick California, and you know what, California is sick right now.”

“We’re running against the corruption and the mismanagement,” she said. “And it has only accelerated under Gavin Newsom’s rule.”

She said she jumped in the race after “watching what’s happening at the border.”

“I’m seeing the worst policies you could possibly do,” she said. “People are drowning, kids are in cages. I said, ‘I got to do this. I just gotta.’ I started calling people the next day and said here we go.”

Most of California’s COVID-19 restrictions will be retired starting Tuesday with the end of the state’s tiered reopening system. But Jenner was particularly critical of Newsom’s restrictions on businesses and schools that were rolled out amid the pandemic.

“I look at it this way on the response: Gavin Newsom wasn’t for the people; he was for the elites,” she said. “Gavin Newsom wasn’t for the kids; he was for the teachers union. Gavin Newsom wasn’t for the workers; he was out for himself. He locked himself down while he lived it up at the French Laundry. Total hypocrisy.”

See video from the event on the Republican Party of San Diego County’s Facebook page.