Republican candidate for governor John Cox said he had a simple message for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic frontrunner in the race, about their upcoming showdown in November: “Mr. Newsom made it clear that he wanted to run against me instead of another Democrat,” Cox said. “Be careful, Mr. Newsom, be careful what you wish for.”
Right after his speech, The Associated Press called the race for Newsom, as expected, and for Cox, who fended off a well-funded bid by the Democratic former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, to secure the second of the top-two slots from an unwieldy field of 27 candidates.
Cox, a businessman, told a throng of cheering supporters in a San Diego banquet room that “one-party rule in Sacramento is bad enough, but one-party elections is just un-American.” In a spirited speech, he went on to call for a civil debate on the issues, but then described Newsom and his “corrupt cronies” as responsible for California’s high taxes, poor performing schools, the state’s housing shortage and homeless problems.
He vaulted into second place in the polls following a tweeted endorsement from President Donald Trump, a man Cox acknowledges never voting for but now enthuses over. Tonight he defended Trump from the criticisms of California Democrats, saying it wasn’t the president who gave California its high tax burden and other woes.
“Mr. Newsom, you’ve had eight years and your party has made a colossal mess of this once Golden State,” Cox said. “So before you get too comfortable enjoying your partisan registration advantage, you might want to ask yourself a few questions. How many hardworking Californians can’t afford a roof over their head tonight? How many hardworking Californians are going to be forced to choose between buying groceries or filling up the tank on their way to work? And how many California parents will send their children to failed schools tomorrow morning, with no hope in sight?
“And how many Californians are sick and tired of poll-tested soundbites, and are looking for someone who will simply get there, roll up their sleeves and fix California like I will?
“Trust me, Gavin, trust me on this one. The number is way more than 51 percent and that’s what I’m going to get in November.”