Caitlyn Jenner’s 1st news conference short on substance
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – It took Caitlyn Jenner 77 days to hold her first press conference after announcing she would run for California governor, and Friday’s event ended in less than 15 minutes, polls showed she was one had tepid public support.
Contrary to her fame as a reality TV personality and former Olympic participant, the brief meeting with about two dozen reporters took place in an inconspicuous hotel conference room with no visible security. After a two-minute opening speech complaining about the state’s high taxes, she answered 10 questions in about 11 minutes and responded with short answers before the exchange was cut off by an aide-de-camp.
Jenner said she was a serious candidate in the September 14 recall election of Democratic first-term governor Gavin Newsom, claiming she led the field of Republican candidates, despite no independent polls showing it.
“I’m here to win,” she said.
She also denied criticism of her spotty vote record – “I voted when I had to” – saying she would spend the last month of the campaign on a bus tour of the state and plan to publish her tax returns next week.
Jenner also suggested building desalination plants to produce more water for the drought-stricken state, but made no indication of when or where such plants could be built.
Jenner, who won the Olympic decathlon in 1976 and came out as a transgender woman decades later, said she was better known than any other GOP candidate and even Newsom. The governor has been in office for more than two years, previously serving as lieutenant governor and mayor of San Francisco.
“Of course, I have a huge advantage because of the notoriety,” she said. “To be honest, I’ve done a lot of races in my life and I know how to win. I just keep working hard. “.”
Jenner also shrugged off polls released last spring that showed she had little public support. However, regarding the May 11 Berkeley IGS Poll, it incorrectly stated that it came out in April and was conducted prior to participating in the race. The poll was conducted April 29 through May 5 after Jenner announced her candidacy on April 23.
After an initial boost in notoriety, Jenner has disappeared from the campaign spotlight while other GOP candidates have tried to raise their profile.
These include San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox, who was defeated by Newsom in 2018. State Assembly Rep Kevin Kiley also entered the race last week, and Conservative radio host Larry Elder is considering a run.
71-year-old Jenner anchored her campaign with televised media interviews that included embarrassing pitfalls that underscored her inexperience, including a recent recognition that she was unfamiliar with Newsom’s latest budget.
She seemed to take on the role of the newcomer to the campaign.
“You have to prepare, you have to improve with the issues, you have to understand the problems,” said Jenner, comparing it to athletic training.
Her candidacy has sparked a hostile response from some members and groups within the LGBTQ community, who frequently cited her ties to former President Donald Trump.
Jenner backed Trump in 2016 but later criticized his administration’s repeal of a policy on transgender people’s access to public school toilets. She also split with Trump after he said transgender people were not allowed to serve in the U.S. military.
She said on Friday that she did not want Trump’s support and had not spoken to him about the campaign.
Meanwhile, Newsom’s lawyers were in court on Friday to seek a ruling that would allow him to list his Democratic Party membership on the recall vote. He sued his appointed Democratic Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, after Newsom’s campaign failed to submit the relevant documents for his party’s list. One of the opponents of any change is Jenner.
Sacramento County’s Superior Court Justice James Arguelles said he would issue a written judgment Monday after Democratic officials argued that Newsom merely missed a harmless February 2020 filing deadline and that it was in the best interests of voters to keep his To know party affiliation.
Associate press writer Don Thompson contributed to this.
Adam Beam and Michael R. Blood, The Associated Press