John Cox, one of the leading Republican contenders in this year’s California recall election, teamed up with a bear as he kicked off six-city bus tour in his push to oust embattled Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
A 1,000 pound California grizzly bear – which is the official state animal – joined the Republican businessman and gubernatorial candidate in the capital city of Sacramento on Tuesday – as Cox began a six-city “Meet the Beast” bus tour.
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And the bear also stars alongside Cox in a massive $5 million statewide ad blitz that launched at the same time – the first ad buy any of the recall candidates.
The bear appeared alongside Cox at the bus tour kickoff without any restraints. But Cox’s campaign explained that there was a low wire around the bear – similar to a small wire fence – that the animal’s trained to stay within.
On the bus tour and in the commercial – which was shared first with Fox News nationally – Cox makes a “beauty and the beast” comparison between himself and Newsom.
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“We need to recall our pretty boy governor,” Cox said at the event.
And he spotlighted that his own background is “pretty ugly,” pointing out that he didn’t know his father and was raised by his mother. Cox emphasized that the bear is with him “because we have to be tough as beasts” to take on Newsom in the overwhelming blue state of California.
In the ad, the announcer says “California’s choice: beauty or a beast” and notes that the 65-year old self-made businessman, accountant, attorney and developer who’s worth over $200 million “grew up with nothing – made himself a remarkable success.”
Cox is then heard in the commercial, arguing that “California’s falling off a cliff. High taxes. Unaffordable costs. Even Elon Musk left.”
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The ad ends with the announcer saying, “Recall the beauty. Meet the nicest, smartest, beast in California. John Cox.”
The bear is seen roaring in the middle of the ad, and is with Cox at the end of the commercial.
The ad was produced by veteran and provocative Republican ad maker Fred Davis, who told Fox News “this race is about the beauty or the beast. Newsome vs. Cox. The rest are distractions.”
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The recall push was launched last June over charges the governor mishandled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Republicans see the recall election as their best chance to topple a politician who has never lost an election during his years as San Francisco mayor, California lieutenant governor and now governor.
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Cox, as the 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee, lost to Newsom by nearly 25 points in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
Among the other major GOP candidates in the recall election are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Rep. Doug Ose and Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete turned transgender rights activist and nationally known TV personality, who announced her candidacy two weeks ago.