Republican John Cox brought a bear on the campaign trail in his attempt to unseat Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to The Washington Post.
Cox brought the 1,000 pound bear to Miller Regional Park in Sacramento Tuesday where he spoke to reporters and potential voters, according to The Washington Post. He named his campaign tour “Meet the Beast.” Cox sat a few feet away from the bear as he spoke to attendees, according to The Washington Post.
California politics, y’all. At a John Cox event. pic.twitter.com/pMPUYk92PM
— Haley Victory Smith (@Haley_Victory) May 4, 2021
The bear remained behind Cox throughout the event, separated from the candidate and attendees by small wires. An animal trainer kept the bear occupied with treats, The Washington Examiner reported. The Kodiak bear named Tag has appeared in many commercials and movies, The Washington Post reported. (RELATED: ‘Newsom Is Our Best Representative’: Petition To Recall Gavin Newsom, Trigger Special Election Sees Spike In Interest)
The stunt was part of GOP ad-maker Fred Davis’ strategy for Cox. “I think Sacramento’s the circus, and the election is a bit of a circus,” Davis told The Washington Examiner. “I think the bear is simply there to highlight the difference between someone of no accomplishments and someone of lots of accomplishments.”
Cox frequently referred to Newsom as a “pretty boy” throughout his speech. “Let me tell you, this recall is an opportunity to have a dialogue and a discussion about the real solutions we need to make California better for all of us,” Cox said, according to The Washington Examiner. “It’s a choice between the beauty and the beast. Well, we’ve seen what the beauty has done. I think it’s time to unleash the beast.”
Some animal activists such as Debbie Metzler, the associate director of PETA, condemned Cox’s use of the bear as a prop, according to The Washington Post.
Cox defended his choice saying he only rented the bear for a few hours and that it was not a wild animal, but had been raised in captivity, The Washington Post reported.