(304089)

Former Olympic gold medal winner-turned reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has filed paperwork to run for governor of California in a likely recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom later this year.

“California has been my home for nearly 50 years. I came here because I knew that anyone, regardless of their background or station in life, could turn their dreams into reality. But for the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people,” Jenner said in a statement.

“I have been a compassionate disruptor throughout my life, from representing the United States and winning a gold medal at the Olympics to helping advance the movement for equality. As Californians, we face a now-or-never opportunity to fundamentally fix our state before it’s too late.”

Organizers of the recall effort have focused on Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, criticizing the governor’s lockdown measures as too restrictive.

Jenner, a Republican, latched onto that theme, saying, “Small businesses have been devastated because of the over-restrictive lockdown. Taxes are too high, killing jobs, hurting families, and putting an especially heavy burden on our most vulnerable people. This isn’t the California we know.”

The recall requires valid signatures from 1,495,709 registered voters, 12 percent of the 12,464,235 votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Newsom said in March that he expects the recall to qualify for the ballot. He also criticized the need for a special recall election, calling it a “waste of time” and money because the 2022 gubernatorial primary will be held a few months later.

Other candidates in the race so far include John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Sacramento).