Caitlyn Jenner Debuts First Campaign Video, But Republican Rival John Cox Unveils His Own Attention-Grabbing Spot

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Ted Johnson
·3 min read
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UPDATE, 12:44 PM PT: John Cox campaigned with an unleashed bear in an appearance in Sacramento, as he sought more attention for his gubernatorial campaign.

Per Emily Hoeven of CalMatters, Cox told reporters that “for better or worse, we need to get this message out” about the recall.

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“I wish that didn’t need to be the case. You have to cut through the media.”

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PREVIOUSLY: Caitlyn Jenner is up with her first campaign web video, an introductory spot in which she calls herself a “thoughtful disruptor.” But one of her Republican rivals is trying to draw his own share of attention with a campaign spot.

John Cox, who lost to Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2018, debuted a new ad, “Meet the Beast,” that is a scathing attack on the incumbent (“We chose pretty over accomplished”) while featuring heavy use of a snarling, growling bear. Cox walks and stands alongside the animal, and the spot ends with the line, “Recall the beauty. Meet the nicest, smartest beast in California, John Cox.”

Cox’s campaign is reportedly spending $5 million for an ad buy, and he is planning to campaign with the 1,000-pound bear at a stop in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Jenner’s video comes in advance of her first national TV interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday, to be conducted in Malibu.

In the three-minute spot, Jenner introduces herself, saying, “California is facing big hurdles. Now we need leaders, who are unafraid to lead to new heights, who are unafraid to challenge, and to change, the status quo.” The spot features images of her 1976 Olympic achievements.

Brad Parscale, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, posted the video. According to Axios, he has been advising the campaign but does not have an official title.

The recall is likely to make the ballot this fall, and Newsom will draw heavily on donor support from Hollywood and Silicon Valley, as well as from organized labor, to ensure that he doesn’t suffer the same fate that Gray Davis did in 2003.

Yet if voters move in favor of ousting him, that likely will mean a large field of candidates competing for a plurality of the vote. Jenner has the advantage of name recognition over her rivals who are in the race so far, which also include former congressman Doug Ose and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. And her decision to do Hannity signals that she is trying to shore up support on the right, even in a state where Democrats dominate.

With his latest spot, Cox is not letting Jenner walk away with the lion’s (or should that be bear’s) share of free media attention. The ad is the work of GOP adman Fred Davis, noted for his wildly unusual commercials for his politician clients. Perhaps his most famous is the “demon sheep” spot he did for Carly Fiorina’s 2010 Senate campaign.

Newsom, meanwhile, is intent on branding the recall effort as motivated by supporters of Donald Trump, who remains deeply unpopular in the state.

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