CA Gubernatorial candidate John Cox campaigns in Kern County

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SHAFTER, Calif. (KGET) — Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox campaigned in Kern County Thursday as part of his “meet the beast” statewide bus tour.

The Republican San Diego businessman is asking California voters to oust incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom from office as part of the recall election this fall. Cox hopes to be Newsom’s replacement.

“We have got to make sure this the beautiful state that California is once again. And that starts by recalling our pretty boy Governor Gavin Newsom,” Cox said during a press conference outside of the Flying J gas station and travel center near Shafter.

If elected, Cox said he’ll focus on issues he argues have been ignored and mismanaged by the Newsom Administration. “Housing, homelessness, electricity, water, protection from fires, crime, education — all of these issues, they’re messing up,” he said, noting oil and energy also are among his priorities. Newsom’s policies during the pandemic, Per Cox, hurt businesses and forced closures. “It’s a crime,” he said. “It’s horrendous, and it shouldn’t have happened. It would not have happened if I was governor of this state.”

Cox’s campaign partner — the live bear he’s been traveling with this week — was consciously absent Thursday.

When asked about the bear, Newsom said, “I’m not going to apologize for that. It’s a well-taken care of bear, by the way, for my friends at PETA.”

The bear, per Cox, represents a larger message in this race against Newsom. “It’s the beauty versus the beast. The beauty is all about his ambition and what he’s going to do because he looks so good. I’m a beast when it comes to mismanagement and waist. I can’t stand it.”

Cox is in a race that features more than just Newsom. Other Republicans, including Caitlin Jenner and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer, are also running.

“No matter how many people run in this race, I think people are going to see I’m a business guy who just wants to fix California. Help is on the way. There’s hope,” Cox concluded.

The Newsom campaign did not respond directly to Cox’s allegations Thursday campaign, but earlier this year Newsom said “I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it.”

Cox said he plans to return to Kern County ahead of the fall election.

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