SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – It took Caitlyn Jenner 77 days to hold her first press conference after announcing she would run for governor of California, and the event ended on Friday in less than 15 minutes, was easy on political specifications, and she flipped details of voting that showed her she had lukewarm public support.
Belying her fame as a reality TV personality and former Olympian, the brief encounter with about two dozen journalists took place in an indescribable hotel conference room with no visible security. After a two-minute opening statement in which she lamented the state̵
Jenner said she is a serious candidate on Sept. 14, remembering the election of first-term Democratic Gavin Newsom, and claimed she leads the area for Republican candidates, even though no independent vote has been taken to show that.
“I’m here to win it,” she said.
She also rejected criticism of her tainted vote – “I voted when I needed to” – said she would spend the last month of the campaign on a state bus tour and planned to release her tax returns next week.
Jenner also proposed building desalination plants to produce more water for the drought-cured state, but gave no details on when or where such facilities could be built.
Jenner, who won the Olympic decathlon in 1976 and decades later came out as a transgender woman, said she is better known than any other GOP candidate and even Newsom. The governor has served more than two years and previously served as lieutenant governor and mayor of San Francisco.
“I have a huge advantage, of course, because of name recognition,” she said. “To be honest with you, I have been in many races in my life and I know how to win. I just keep working hard. ”
Jenner also pulled away from the vote, which was released last spring and which showed she had little public support. However, referring to the Berkeley IGS vote issued on May 11, she incorrectly said it came out in April and was completed before she entered the race. The vote was held April 29 to May 5, after Jenner announced his candidacy on April 23.
Following an initial publicity stunt, Jenner has disappeared from the campaign’s spotlight, while other GOP candidates have tried to raise their profiles.
They include San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox, who were defeated by Newsom in 2018. State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley also attended the race last week, and Conservative radio host Larry Elder is considering a race.
The 71-year-old Jenner has anchored her campaign to TV media interviews, which have included embarrassing stumbles that highlighted her inexperience, including recently acknowledging that she was not deeply versed in Newsom’s latest budget.
She seemed to embrace the role of campaign neophyte.
“You have to prepare yourself, you get better with the problems, you have to understand the problems,” Jenner said, comparing it to athletic training.
Her candidacy has elicited a hostile reaction from some members and groups within the LGBTQ community, who often quoted her ties to former President Donald Trump.
Jenner supported Trump in 2016, but later criticized his administration’s recall of a directive on transgender people’s access to public school bathrooms. She also split with Trump after he said transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.
She said Friday she did not want Trump’s approval and had not spoken to him about the campaign.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Newsom’s lawyers were in court seeking a decision that would allow him to list his affiliation with the Democratic Party in the recall vote. He sued the Democratic Secretary of State he appointed, Shirley Weber, after Newsom’s campaign did not submit the appropriate paperwork to list his party. Those who oppose any change include Jenner.
Judge James Arguelles, the Supreme Court of Sacramento County, said he would deliver a written decision Monday after Democratic officials argued that Newsom simply missed a harmless application deadline in February 2020 and that it is in the best interests of voters to know his party affiliation. .
Associated Press author Don Thompson contributed.