Should Republicans be excited about Caitlyn Jenner’s potential run for U.S. Senate in 2018?
Jenner said she “would look for a senatorial run,” when talking with radio host John Catsimatidis. Jenner said, “Over the next six months or so, I gotta find out where I can do a better job. Can I do a better job from the outside? Kind of working the perimeter of the political scene, being open to talking to anybody? Or are you better from the inside, and we are in the process of determining that.”
One determining factor beyond that would be Jenner’s chances of winning, first the Republican nomination and then in the general. Senator Diane Feinstein, who is 83-years-old, has told reporters she intends to run again. On the Republican side, no major names have announced, and only one potential candidate would even make it interesting.
But certainly not as interesting as Jenner.
Jenner’s only tough competition for the GOP primary could be San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who won reelection in 2016. The big-city Republican mayor would be a good candidate, but remember, this is still California we’re talking about. In the 2016 U.S. Senate election in California, a Republican didn’t even make it out of the jungle primary, and two Democrats ran against each other in the general.
That’s why Republicans have nothing to lose and everything to gain if Jenner runs in 2018.
Jenner is the only Republican — with maybe the exception of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who isn’t much of a Republican anymore — who has a higher name identification rate than Feinstein. The level of attention this race would get would be unprecedented.
With an estimated $100 million net worth, Jenner also brings the ability to self-finance, but more importantly, the ability to self-promote. As we learned in the 2016 presidential race, famous candidates don’t need to out-raise their establishment opponents; they simply need to generate more media coverage than their opponents. Did we mention Jenner is pretty popular on Twitter?
On the issues, Jenner is a traditional Republican on every core value of the Republican Party, from taxes to guns to healthcare. Jenner recently spoke at the CRNC national convention and caused a stir for some politically incorrect remarks. This fits in with many of popular themes among the GOP base.
Some Republicans may be concerned with Jenner’s LGBT advocacy, but in California, most of the few Republicans left in the state tend to agree with Jenner on those issues. The bigger and more real concern from Republicans may be that the GOP is becoming the home of outlandish celebrity candidates. With Trump as president, both Jenner and Kid Rock are now looking at the 2018 Senate race.
While those concerns are valid, both Rock in Michigan and Jenner in California are likely the Republicans’ best chance for victory in both states. If we thought 2016 was crazy, maybe 2018 has something even crazier in store.