- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Republican John Cox unveiled Tuesday the first major ad blitz of the California gubernatorial recall by casting himself as “the beast” and the state’s photogenic Democratic governor as “beauty.”

The Cox campaign kicked off the $5 million “Beauty and the Beast” ad campaign and a statewide “Meet the Beast” bus tour with a Sacramento press conference featuring a 1,000-pound bear.

“The beautiful politicians have failed California,” Mr. Cox said in a press release. “We need big beastly changes to save it. I’ll cut taxes, make California more affordable, and shake up Sacramento.”

The statewide “recall the beauty” ad running on television, cable and digital platforms shows Gov. Gavin Newsom looking into a mirror as the narrator says, “California’s choice: beauty … or a beast?”

To drive home the point, a parrot says “pretty boy” and a massive bear growls.

“Gavin’s mismanagement of California is inexcusable,” Mr. Cox says in the ad. “We need big beastly changes in Sacramento. I’ll make ‘em.”

The ad launch comes a week after the California secretary of state announced that the recall campaign had gathered more than enough signatures to force a special election, although signers still have until the end of May to withdraw their names.

No date has been set for the election, but the race has already drawn a number of high-profile Republican challengers, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Rep. Doug Ose, and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner.

Mr. Cox, a multimillionaire businessman who lost in 2018 to Mr. Newsom, took another dig at the governor by scheduling the second stop of his Tuesday tour at the French Laundry in Yountville.

Mr. Newsom came under fire in November for attending a dinner at the exclusive Napa Valley restaurant without following his own pandemic restrictions on social distancing and mask-wearing, for which he later apologized.

The ad campaign was produced by Fred Davis, the veteran Republican ad man known for his creative spots.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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