'A different time': Why the recall effort against California Gov. Newsom isn't history repeating

Thursday - 08/04/2021 12:31
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
"Politically, we're a completely different state than we were in 2003," a Democratic strategist said. "If you look at the statewide races, the Republican Party has effectively become a third party in California."

By Alicia Victoria Lozano

LOS ANGELES — The campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom is already showing signs of turning into a circus like the one that brought down Gray Davis in 2003.

Axios reported Tuesday that Caitlyn Jenner, the former reality star and Olympian and stepparent to the even more famous Kardashian clan, is considering entering the governor's race if a recall petition qualifies for the ballot. NBC News has not verified whether Jenner intends to run, and she has not announced a decision.

Jenner could be the first of what many strategists believe will be a long line of celebrity and novelty candidates who could closely mirror those who ran in 2003, when adult film star Mary Carey, former child actor Gary Coleman and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt added their names to the list of more than 100 would-be governors. Action movie hero Arnold Schwarzenegger ultimately won the election.

Nearly 20 years later, the comparisons stop there.

None of the three Republican contenders who have announced their intentions to run have statewide name recognition similar to Schwarzenegger's. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is considered the likely front-runner, is not well known outside Southern California. Businessman John Cox lost to Newsom in 2018 by double digits, and Doug Ose, a former member of Congress, briefly ran for governor in 2018 before he dropped out of the race.

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 Keywords: California

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