Republican challengers have been coming out of the woodwork ever since it was announced Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California will face a recall election this upcoming November.
One Republican who's chosen a pretty strange gimmick to get noticed is John Cox, who released an ad repeatedly calling himself "The Beast" while comparing Gavin Newsom to a parrot.
The ad also heavily features a large bear.
Later, at a campaign event in Sacramento's Miller Regional Park, Cox appeared in person to give a speech alongside a live, 1,000-pound Kodiak bear.
A California gubernatorial candidate drew criticism for including a huge brown bear in a campaign event in Sacramen… https://t.co/FAuJMBRAJY— CBS News (@CBS News) 1620226812.0
John Cox, Republican candidate in the California recall election, brings a 1,000-pound bear to his press conference… https://t.co/5fd33RrElM— The Recount (@The Recount) 1620149660.0
Animal rights groups immediately called out Cox for his use of a live animal as a prop.
John Cox attempting to compensate for his lack of candidate viability in a shameless #politicalstunt is blatantly e… https://t.co/9gqkMkqfSD— Social Compassion in Legislation (@Social Compassion in Legislation) 1620175327.0
The bear was displayed in full sun on pavement, which can burn animals' paw pads.
Twitter also lampooned Cox for his strange, potentially dangerous choice.
Most campaigns: policy and local appeal John Cox: bear https://t.co/sh06pYPMYZ— Jackson (@Jackson) 1620151742.0
Before long, John Cox's bear even had its own Twitter account.
@omarsrashad We are an exclusive CA journalist club https://t.co/QYiAAb9SlY— Emma Hall (@Emma Hall) 1620184767.0
And here I thought we were friends :( https://t.co/jjj8NwKQmd— John Cox's Bear 🐻 (@John Cox's Bear 🐻) 1620236304.0
Cox didn't seem to give any thought to his publicity stunt before hiring Tag, the Kodiak bear who was raised in captivity and has appeared in several movies.
@HuffPost Whenever GOP predators are not shooting wildlife animals for game, they are exploiting them for personal gain. Shameful indeed.— Blueberry Smasher (@Blueberry Smasher) 1620226113.0
Wowwww... https://t.co/Zs4CMXv4RS— Shannen Rodriguez (@Shannen Rodriguez) 1620221726.0
well, I dunno about you, but this seems pretty inhumane. https://t.co/Ssz7iQ6gDR— Chozo (@Chozo) 1620148951.0
Some Twitter users wondered if Cox might be met with some poetic justice.
Our only hope is that the bear eats John Cox and replaces him on the ballot.— Chozo (@Chozo) 1620149009.0
What are the odds John Cox gets eaten by his bear?— Ethan Sonneborn (@Ethan Sonneborn) 1620150205.0
If Cox wants any chance of distinguishing himself from the other Republicans and winning the upcoming recall election, he'd better think of a platform beyond "I have a bear" sometime in the near future.