Jane Fonda explored running for California’s governor in this year’s recall election, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, but ultimately decided to support Gavin Newsom, who is trying to retain his seat in the September 14 election.
Fonda has spent much of her life active in politics and causes, but more recently has gained attention for leading Fire Drill Fridays, a series of protest actions to call attention to the need for dramatic action to combat climate change. She was arrested multiple times during protests in Washington, D.C. in 2019, including one night that she spent in jail. The protests continued in Los Angeles and in other cities and in online presentations.
According to the report in the Chronicle, there were some discussions about putting up a progressive candidate on the ballot earlier this summer, with concerns over Newsom’s vulnerability. Fonda ultimately declined and did not file in the race — nor did any other well-known Democrat — and fully supports Newsom, according to the paper.
Fonda’s reps did not comment, but a source close to the actress described the report as credible.
Voters on September 14 will be asked two questions: first, whether Newsom should be removed from office and, if so, who should replace him. Some 46 candidates have qualified for the ballot, with conservative radio host Larry Elder leading in recent polls. Another celebrity candidate, Caitlyn Jenner, also has been running, but her campaign has yet to take off in recent surveys.
Although Newsom enjoyed a significant lead in polls to remain in office, recent surveys have shown the race tightening, with concerns that his opponents have an advantage in turning voters out on the recall election date.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan parlayed their acting careers into the state’s governorship, but they were Republicans. Through the years such figures as Rob Reiner, Warren Beatty and James Garner have considered running or have been approached by Democratic party leaders about doing so, only to decide against it.
More recently, actress Cynthia Nixon challenged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination in 2018, but she lost. Matthew McConaughey has said that he is considering a run for governor of Texas, though he has not said whether he would be aligned with a political party.
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