As California’s recall election got into full swing on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom obliquely addressed the release of the first campaign ad from Republican challenger Caitlyn Jenner.
Asked by a reporter if he had seen the spot Newsom responded, “I haven’t had a chance to look at it.” He suggested to the reporter who posed the question, “You’ll have to send me the video.” The governor then went on to list all of the things on his plate besides the recall.
“Look, I’m focused on cleaning this state up, preparing for wildfire season,” he said, before reconsidering and saying, “So perhaps you shouldn’t send me the video. I’ll take that 3 minutes and focus on the needs of [firefighters].” Newsom’s press conference was held with members of the California Professional Firefighters union which represents more than 30,000 first responders. Union leaders strongly endorsed the governor at the event. Newsom also characterized the recall as “a sideshow” and “a joke.”
Caitlyn Jenner Debuts First Campaign Video, But Republican Rival John Cox Unveils His Own Attention-Grabbing Spot
In the new three-minute spot, Jenner calls herself a “thoughtful disruptor,” saying, “California is facing big hurdles. Now we need leaders, who are unafraid to lead to new heights, who are unafraid to challenge, and to change, the status quo.” The spot features images of her 1976 Olympic achievements.
Not to be outdone, John Cox, who lost to Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2018, also debuted a new ad, “Meet the Beast,” on Tuesday. That may not be the most-appealing moniker to end-times-minded California Christians, but the spot is a scathing attack on the incumbent (“We chose ‘pretty’ over ‘accomplished’”) and makes heavy use of a snarling, growling bear. Cox walks and stands alongside the animal, and the spot ends with the line, “Recall the beauty. Meet the nicest, smartest beast in California, John Cox.” Cox also made a campaign appearance on Tuesday alongside a 1,000-pound bear.
Newsom was asked directly what he thinks of Jenner as a candidate given the fact that his campaign is using her challenge in fundraising emails, but the governor sidestepped question.
Instead, he went after recall proponents in general, saying they want “to attack the core values of this state.” The recall election is “about the values of this state,” said Newsom.
The governor then went on to paint the recall as an effort by the national Republican machine. “Learn more about the people behind this,” Newsom urged. “Why is the Republican National Committee behind this? Why is Newt Gingrich behind this? Why is there a whole [TV] network put their energy and attention to covering this? Is it because they have the backs of Californians? Take a look at their agenda and contrast that with ours. I think the majority of Californians support our agenda.”
That reference to a TV network is likely a shot at Fox News, which has covered the recall regularly will air candidate Jenner’s first national TV interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
— CPF (@CAFirefighters) May 4, 2021