It’s almost a certainty that California Governor Gavin Newsom is going to be looking at a gubernatorial recall election this fall. He knows it, and the whole state knows it.
While there’s plenty of dissatisfaction with his performance, the big question will always be who on the Republican side could possibly have what it takes to actually win in such a Democratic state.
This is California, so the answer is a celebrity, which is exactly what happened the last time the state had a recall election in 2003, and Arnold Schwarzenegger came out of nowhere to win.
A story in Politico this week discussed the very real possibility of another huge celebrity who is seriously considering running this fall. 71-year old reality TV star, transgender rights activist, and former Olympic Decathlon gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner.
Jenner has been asked about it numerous times throughout the past few months and almost every time she denies having any interest, but the story in Politico reported she is gathering her political advisors to her home in Malibu next week to figure out if she gives it a go.
It would be a mistake to not take her candidacy seriously if she did decide to run. She has surrounded herself with a team of experienced Republican strategists.
Organizers of the recall in California say they have enough signatures to force an election this fall. On the ballot there would be two questions posed to California residents: if Newsom should be removed from office and who should replace him.
Some Republicans in California think Jenner’s candidacy would be a celebrity driven sideshow. Of course it would be. But here’s the reality for the Republican party: there’s no star political candidate who would appear to have the ability to beat Newsom, who would have no spending limits on his campaign and would receive north of $100 million in donations to work with.
Anyone who scoffs at this idea is naive. Newsom’s popularity is extremely low, and even though a recent poll suggested there wouldn’t be enough support to replace him, there are many Democrats who want him out, but would never admit it to a pollster.
The days of a reality TV star or celebrity being considered a reach to win a big political office are long gone. It would be unwise to bet against someone that proved they had what it takes to become the greatest athlete in the entire world.