Caitlyn Jenner releases 1st ad in bid to recall Gov. Newsom, branding herself a 'compassionate disrupter'

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Newsom recall: Caitlyn Jenner says she's a 'compassionate disrupter' in first political ad
Caitlyn Jenner has released her first political ad after announcing her run for California governor.

Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic decathlete and reality TV personality now running for California governor, has branded herself as a "compassionate disrupter" fighting against "elitist" career politicians in a new campaign launch video released Tuesday.

The three-minute spot debuted on ABC's "Good Morning America," and features archival clips of state's political history, Jenner's athletic career, and Jenner speaking on camera in the present day, offering her rationale for her candidacy.

"I came here with a dream 48 years ago, to be the greatest athlete in the world," she says. "Now I enter a different kind of race, arguably my most important one yet: to save California."

Jenner first rose to public prominence as a world record-breaking Olympic gold medalist in 1976. She came out publicly as a transgender woman in 2015 in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer.

Last month, Jenner registered to run for statewide office, hoping to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom -- bringing even more attention to an election closely watched by political observers.

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"I want to carry the torch for the parents who had to balance work and their child's education, for business owners who are forced to shut down, for pastors who are not able to be with their congregation, for the family who lost their home in a fire, for an entire generation of students who lost a year of education," Jenner says in the newly released ad, whose images run the gamut of California's promise and challenges, including the Hollywood sign, palm trees, the Golden Gate bridge, homelessness, wildfires and shuttered businesses.

No specific mention is made of the coronavirus pandemic or Newsom himself, who is seen in grainy video footage and a photo of him dining maskless indoors at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa County. Newsom apologized at the time for what he called "a bad mistake."

"California is facing big hurdles," Jenner says. "Now, we need leaders who are unafraid to leap to new heights, who are unafraid to challenge and to change the status quo."

The 71-year-old Jenner, whose political stances have evolved through the years, identifies as "economically conservative, socially progressive." After supporting President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, she revoked her support in 2018, citing the administration's attacks on the transgender community.

Newsom -- who has the support of the California Democratic Party and prominent leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris -- has called the Republican recall effort a threat to California values that will hinder the progress he says the state has made on COVID-19, climate change and anti-gun violence since he took office in 2019.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.