Nothing Says You’re a Serious GOP Candidate More Than a 1,000-Pound Grizzly Bear, VICE US

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When you’re campaigning as a “beast” who’ll “get things done,” what better way to prove it than having a 1,000-pound Grizzly as your sidekick on a six-city tour?

“I’m going to talk about serious issues,” said John Cox at the Sacramento kickoff to his campaign for California governor, with the large unleashed bear roaming around behind him, according to journalist Emily Hoven.

Cox, a Republican who lost a previous gubernatorial race by a landslide, is traveling with Tag the bear to illustrate his “Beauty and the Beast” campaign theme, in which he portrays current Gov. Gavin Newsom as a “pretty boy” and himself as a “ball-busting beast.”

“We need to recall our pretty boy governor,” Cox said at Tuesday’s event. “Over 2 million people literally put their name on the line to recall him. They said we can’t take this anymore.”

California is currently preparing for a recall election to potentially replace Newsom, which will likely happen later this year. The Democrat has come under fire from Republicans in the state for his COVID restrictions and his platform to address the state’s growing homelessness problem.

Tag grew up in captivity and now works in film. He has his own Instagram account, which describes him as “The Goofiest Bear you’ll ever see.”

Tag also appears in the campaign-kickoff ad Cox released Tuesday—which also features a parrot.

The bird repeatedly says “pretty boy,” referencing Newsom, and the governor’s headshot dramatically fades off the screen. At another point text appears saying “COX, compassion for the homeless,” while a voiceover claims Cox will “finally deal with the homeless.” The ad ends with the voiceover calling Cox “the nicest, smartest beast you’ve ever met.”

Back at the live event, Tag seemed bored by his campaign debut as he wandered around the designated sitting area (marked off by yellow rope) and received a snack about halfway through, then decided to sit down and lick himself as Cox addressed the issues he plans to tackle if he’s elected.

The candidate’s campaign is set to hit six cities over the next three days, with Tag—and presumably plenty of snacks—along for the ride.

VICE US