California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner defended her travel out of state on Friday – insisting that she is not pausing or suspending her campaign – after an Australian publication reported that she is in Australia filming “Celebrity Big Brother.”
“My campaign team is in full operation as am I. I am in this race to win for California, because it is worth fighting for,” Jenner tweeted on Friday after The Advertiser reported that she had touched down in Sydney this week with just two months before California’s gubernatorial recall election.
“I am honoring a work commitment that I had made prior to even deciding to run for governor. There is no pause at all on this race to save CA!” the Republican candidate and reality star tweeted.
With the special election to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom scheduled for September 14, ballots are expected to be mailed to California voters next month.
Australia requires travelers arriving from overseas to quarantine for 14 days. That means Jenner will be gone during a critical final phase of the campaign, but her aides said she couldn’t get out of “a prior obligation” and “will be back very soon.” They did not provide any further details about the length of her trip but said she is continuing to do campaign work and interviews remotely.
Many political operatives in California had expected the recall election to be this fall, as late as November. But the lieutenant governor announced earlier this month that she was calling the election for September after California Secretary of State Shirley Weber certified the recall effort.
Newsom’s approval ratings have been relatively stable throughout the spring and summer once the state accelerated its vaccination campaign after a rocky start, but some Democratic operatives have worried that the governor’s political fortunes could be affected by a resurgence in cases – as some parts of the state, like Los Angeles County, are seeing now.
Voters will be asked two questions on the September ballot. The first will be whether they want to vote “yes” or “no” to recall Newsom, who was elected in 2018 with nearly 62% of the vote. The second question will ask who they want to replace Newsom with.
Jenner is one of a number of prominent Republicans vying to replace Newsom in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1.
Newsom recently sued the state to try to get his party affiliation listed on the ballot, but a California judge denied that request.