The rumors are true: Caitlyn Jenner plans to run for governor of California.
The 71-year-old, a longtime Republican, former Olympian, Keeping Up With the Kardashians alum and transgender rights activist, announced on her Instagram page on Friday, April 23 that she has filed paperwork to run for the position. In her post, which comes amid months of rumors, she urged people to donate to her political campaign.
"California has been my home for nearly 50 years," she said in a statement. "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. Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision."
The news comes amid more than year-long push by Republican and other conservative activists for a recall election to replace Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom. Organizers have gathered more than 2 million voter signatures in petitions ahead of an April 29 deadline to meet a 1.4 million signature threshold for qualification for a recall election, according to Sacramento's NBC affiliate KCRA.
Jenner's announcement also comes weeks after the Associated Press reported that she has been consulting with GOP advisers. She has spoken to Dave Rexrode, executive director of the Republican Governors Association, about a potential gubernatorial run, a spokesperson for the organization told the news wire.
In her announcement, Jenner did not specify her political affiliation, only calling herself a lifelong "compassionate disrupter" and a "proven winner and the only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom's disastrous time as governor."
"In the next few weeks, I will meet with Californians from across the state," she said, "to hear their voices and finally get this state moving in the right direction. The significance of this decision is not lost on me. The sacrifice is significant. But responsibility is great, and I can't wait to lead, to help and most importantly, to disrupt the status quo once again...I'm in!"
If she runs, Jenner would join a growing list of California celebrities who have embarked on a political career, following late actor and former President Ronald Reagan and Terminator star and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as several people from the entertainment business who were on a list of more than 130 people who ran in a 2003 gubernatorial recall election, such as the late Larry Flynt and actor Gary Coleman, watermelon-smashing '80s comedian Gallagher, Angelyne and adult film star Mary Carey, who plans to run again to try to replace Newsom.