In his first political campaign, a 1,000-pound bear named Tag joined gubernatorial candidate John Cox to illustrate California’s need for big and “beastly” changes.
“The bear is here for the reason to demonstrate that we’re going to need beastly changes,” he said.
The Republican businessman kicked off his Meet the Beast tour in Sacramento on Tuesday. Cox hoped to convince voters to elect him as California’s next governor by bringing along a Kodiak bear to symbolize the strength and power of his candidacy.
“We need to turn this state around, we need to start climbing out right away, that’s why this recall is important,” he explained.
Cox has unsuccessfully run for office five times, including three years ago when he lost to Governor Gavin Newsom in a landslide.
“I’m not a household name, I’m not funded by billionaire’s like our pretty boy governor,” Cox added. “I’m just a business guy like a lot of people out there, but I’ve got solutions, I’ve got ideas.”
He promoted these ideas in a new campaign ad that tells viewers to recall the beauty and elect the beast.
Organizations like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals slammed Cox for using a bear to deliver his campaign message, calling it unfortunate and shameful.
Tag’s handler explained the bear was born in captivity and has been trained to work in Hollywood.
“This bear has had an absolutely wonderful life, it’s protected fully, it’s fed, it’s taken care of, and if it were out in the wild it would die very quickly,” Cox said.
The real estate investor launched his campaign with $10 million of his own dollars. If he’s elected, Cox said he’ll tackle the state’s housing crisis by reducing the cost of new construction.
“That’s my business. I build and manage apartments for a living. I’ve been doing it for 35 years. I can build for a fraction of the cost in other states that it cost here in California,” Cox noted.
With Tag by his side, Cox will wrap up a three-day tour in the Central Valley on Thursday, May 6.