Republican gubernatorial candidate, businessman John Cox in his previous bid lost the California governor race to Gavin Newsom in a landslide by nearly three million votes in 2018. This time in an apparent homage to the California flag, he is back in the race and to drive home his message, he has employed the services of a 1,000-pound bear.
In the likely recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, Cox kicked off his new campaign for California governorship with the large unleashed bear roaming around behind him. The GOP candidate showed off Tag the Kodiak bear at a campaign stop in Sacramento on Tuesday. The businessman’s campaign is attempting to portray the well-groomed governor (Newsom) as a beauty and himself as a beast.
According to a Guardian report, Cox as part of “Meet the Beast” Bus Tour appeared at a press event with Tag at the podium and in front of a bus with his face next to that of a big ferocious-looking bear’s face emblazoned on it. Cox’s stunt was directed at grabbing eyeballs to his campaign, where he promised to discuss “serious issues” like bringing down the cost of housing, boosting the state’s water resources and preventing special interests from influencing government and its policies. In reality, however, Cox’s speech was punctuated with a disinterested bear lumbering around few feet behind the Republican.
While his stunt made news across the state, it also drew flak from animal rights groups and unsurprisingly getting him a lot of criticism. Responding to a tweet, PETA called the stunt “unfortunate and shameful” and the organisation urged to keep wild animals out of their “political stunts.”
It’s unfortunate and shameful that Tag the Kodiak bear has been exploited in this way. Bears need to be left alone, not confined to a pen on asphalt and wheeled out for events. PETA urges anyone with an ounce of decency to keep wild animals out of their publicity stunts.— PETA (@peta) May 4, 2021
According to abc7news.com report, assistant director of animal care at the Oakland Zoo, Darren Minieralso called the stunt exploitative and even dangerous. “We don’t see this as often as we used to a few decades ago,” said Minier. “The main reason is because of how unsafe it is,” he added.
Meanwhile, the bear which Cox said was born in captivityiswell taken care of and would die in the wild. It has also appeared in several movies and commercials.
The state of California is currently preparing for a recall election to potentially replace Gov. Newsom, which will likely happen later this year. California had undergone a similar recall in 2003, when a special election permitted under California state law resulted in voters replacing incumbent Democratic Governor Gray Davis with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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