Grenell remains to be weighing the California recall provide because the Republican discipline grows

Former acting director of the National Intelligence Service, Richard Grenell, said he was still wondering whether to run in the recall election against California Governor Gavin Newsom. | Darko Vojinovic / AP Photo

Richard Grenell, the acting director of the National Intelligence Service under former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he was still wondering whether to run in the recall election against California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“I have until about August or September to find out,” Grenell told Fox News host Sean Hannity when asked if he would be participating in the race. “We think about it. My criterion is only the long-term view: how can you fix this in the long term? How do you make sure that it is not just a bolt of lightning?”

“I want to do to California what Stacey Abrams did to Georgia, and I think it’s going to be about four years,” he added, before promoting his Fix California political action committee.

Grenell had been largely silent about his recall plans for the past few weeks when other GOP candidates entered the race, particularly reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. She hired former Trump advisors to launch her campaign – including former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale – and it was believed she would try to make the first claim on Trump-minded Republicans in California.

But Jenner’s campaign has struggled to gain ground after a few missteps and the lack of a core ingredient behind her. It got 6 percent support in the first major poll, which came out Tuesday morning, and only 13 percent of Republicans said they would support it.

In addition to Jenner, three prominent Republicans have already announced that they will face Newsom: former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former MP Doug Ose and businessman John Cox. They are all fighting to be the leading candidate to replace Newsom. Faulconer entered the race at the earliest, but Jenner’s recent foray has drawn the most media and public attention.

Faulconer and Cox each polled 22 percent in the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll published Tuesday. Ose had 14 percent support. The poll didn’t seem to ask about Grenell.

California has a low barrier to entry to recall elections, resulting in a flood of candidates during the 2003 recall of Governor Gray Davis that saw film star Arnold Schwarzenegger take over the governor’s mansion. A similarly large increase in candidates is expected for the recall elections planned for this fall.

Newsom has gained momentum in the past few weeks as Covid-19 rates have fallen, businesses reopened and state budget revenue continues to rise. The Berkeley poll found 49 percent against Newsom’s recall, compared with 35 percent in support – better numbers than the governor’s in January.

The recall has not yet been officially announced, but backers have collected more than enough valid signatures to qualify the election. It is expected to be scheduled for the end of October or November.

In the state’s only other gubernatorial recall in 2003, Schwarzenegger waited until early August to declare his candidacy before winning the election in October that year.

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