ORLANDO, Fla. — An unwavering ally of former President Donald J. Trump suggested Saturday that he may launch a campaign for governor in California, directly challenging Gov. Gavin C. Newsom if Republicans succeed in forcing a recall election this year. But just one month ago he leaned in the opposite direction, saying he had “no plan” to run.

The Rescue California PAC said this month that it had collected enough signatures to force state officials to schedule an election, possibly as soon as mid-May. Democrats there could find their broad political majority challenged by Ric A. Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence. Grenell is the first openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet-level position. He and his partner Matt Lashey are longtime residents of the California town of Palm Springs.

Grenell said Newsom has presided over a state that makes Americans think of

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference following the opening of a new large scale COVID-19 vaccination site at Cal State Los Angeles on February 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Grenell’s thinking appears to have evolved in recent weeks. He told Zenger News on Jan. 23 that he was focused on the need for a review of California’s election security protocols, and thoughts of a candidacy would wait “until” afterward.

Andrew Reeder, a political strategist from Los Angeles, told Zenger News that Grenell could nudge some lesser-known Republicans to the sidelines if he jumps into the race.