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Candidate uses 1000-pound bear in his campaign for California governor, later complains it stole his thunder

John Cox, began his recall campaign for California governor with Tag, a Kodiak brown bear, in Sacramento. It was the first stop for his "Meet the Beast" bus tour.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 6, 2021 6:50:40 pm
john cox, john cox bear campaign, California governor recall election, john cox ad campaign, cox tag bear ad, indian expressJohn Cox, Republican recall candidate for California governor, begins his statewide "Meet the Beast" bus tour with Tag, a Kodiak brown bear, at Miller Regional Park in Sacramento. (Source: AP)

If the race to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom was already not entertaining enough, it took on a circus-like turn this week when John Cox, Republican recall candidate, launched his campaign with a 1000 pound live bear!

As Republicans have been struggling to gain voters’ attention as the state gears up for an important recall election this year, businessman-turned-politician John Cox grabbed eyeballs introducing himself as “the beast” to Newsom’s “beauty” alongside a Kodiak bear, named Tag at an event in Sacramento.

Kicking off his bus tour for the upcoming election, he spoke to the members of the press, while the huge bear was seen sitting out in the sun on the ground near the bus, which was plastered with photos of the animal along with Cox.

With the massive bear causally walking around behind him, munching on chicken and cookies thrown by a trainer, Cox criticized Newsom as an elitist. While many worried about the presence of an wild animal in close proximity to humans, according to Los Angeles Times, the 9-year-old bear who was born at a “private zoo in Ohio, lives on a 60-acre ranch near Frazier Park and is not a stranger to the bright lights and cameras.”

According to the report, his trainer Keith Bauer said that Tag has also starred in the Paramount Network television series “Yellowstone” starring Kevin Costner; a Super Bowl ad for Rocket Mortgage and has even appeared in the Apple TV series “See” with actor Jason Momoa.

The 65-year-old businessman who lost to Newsom in a 2018 landslide, also released a video in which he repeatedly labelled Newsom a “pretty boy”, who lacks the substance to run state government. “California’s choice: beauty or a beast,” the voiceover says in the campaign video, as it cuts to a California grizzly bear – the official state animal – roaring.

Cox spent $5 million to air a 30-second version on television statewide, his campaign said, underscoring his need to raise his profile, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Tag, a Kodiak brown bear, has been raised in captivity and has appeared him many TV shows and commercials. (Source: AP)

Although Cox’s gimmick did create a buzz, it also drew criticism from people all around. Animal rights group PETA and state Senator Ben Hueso, who authored a state law banning use of most animals in circuses, condemned his use of a bear as a campaign prop.

Many on social media too slammed him calling it “animal abuse”, while others retorted to his beast claim with sarcastic posts.

Along with Cox, the current Democratic governor is being challenged on the Republican side by former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Olympian and reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner. She also released a campaign video introducing herself as a “compassionate disrupter” who could help the state reclaim its “true identity, to bring back the gold to the Golden State.”

However, after backlash, Cox himself now has started to complain as the bear’s presence stole his thunder. “The coverage yesterday was all about the bear,” Cox was quoted by SF Gate, before urging the media to focus on Newsom’s policies that make California “unlivable and dangerous.”

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