SAN DIEGO – Many Californians are in the midst of filling out their ballots in the state’s recall election with more than 40 candidates vying to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom.
One of those candidates is reality TV star and famed ex-Olympian Caitlyn Jenner.
Jenner, a Republican who recently visited the the U.S.-Mexico border in a campaign stop in Otay Mesa, has said border security is the top issue that got her into the recall election against Newsom. But even with considerable name recognition, Jenner trails several others in recent polling, including conservative talk show host Larry Elder, YouTube star Kevin Paffrath, Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Speaking to FOX 5 Tuesday, Jenner, 71, said her campaign is “pleased” with where they are and challenged the notion that the recall primarily is a Republican-backed effort.
“This recall was because of the citizens of the state of California and especially the mothers of kids who have been out of school for the last year and they’re finally getting back with all kinds of restrictions, but they’re finally getting back,” Jenner said. “It’s about the people. It wasn’t the Republican Party; it was the people who got Gavin Newsom into this recall.”
Much of the effort was driven by frustrations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic with critics of Newsom arguing against restrictions implemented on businesses, churches and schools, effectively hampering daily life as infections and hospitalizations rise and fell throughout the state.
State public health officials retired the state’s color-coded reopening system on June 15.
The state continues to require masks be worn by the unvaccinated and by all in select indoor settings, such as in schools, prisons and public transportation. Vaccination mandates also have been rolled out for certain industries in recent months, and likely will continue to be implemented now that the FDA has granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Jenner, who says she and her 95-year-old mother are vaccinated, called vaccinations “very good and safe,” but argues against mandating it because of “personal choice.”
“We are a free people in this country,” she said. “I don’t want the government telling me what I have to put into my body. I think we have to protect that. I think the decision to get the vaccine is between the person and their doctor and not government. Government has provided this service.”
She continues: “It’s the same thing with the mask mandates. Again, personal responsibility. Californians are smart. We know our health. We know what the situation is. If you have pre-existing conditions or are vulnerable to this disease, boy you’d better take action and take care of yourself, but I don’t want the government saying that. I’m about personal freedom.”
Jenner said that Newsom is in the position to be recalled because “he’s done a terrible job in handling the economy.” One example, also mentioned in remarks made in June at an event hosted by the Republican Party of San Diego County, was about how Disney World in Florida opened last summer while Disneyland in California did not reopen until earlier this year.
“There’s that delicate balance between the science, the economy and personal health,” she said. “Different governors have done it different ways. Some have done a lot better. He shut down businesses way too long. He shut down companies way too long. He destroyed the economy in California for so many people.”