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Caitlyn Jenner running for California governor

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Former Olympic gold medal winner and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner has added her celebrity status to a growing list of Republicans seeking to unseat California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The 71-year-old said in a statement posted on social media Friday that the Democratic governor's "over-restrictive lockdown" during the pandemic has devastated small business and deprived children of in-class schooling, adding: "I am a proven winner and the only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom's disastrous time as governor."

The effort to recall Newsom began in February 2020, before COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, led by a conservative group called the California Patriot Coalition that opposed Newsom's liberal politics.

California's secretary of state is in the process of verifying the signatures necessary to force Newsom into a recall election. If there is one, voters would be asked whether the governor should be recalled and if so, who should succeed him.

The last time Californians recalled their governor was in 2003, when Democrat Gray Davis was replaced by Republican Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.