John Cox, a Republican businessman and investor from Rancho Santa Fe, formally announced his campaign for governor on Tuesday, promising to improve the state’s financial accountability and create a more welcoming climate for business.
“If you want to know why I am running, the answer is really quite simple,” Cox said in a prepared statement, after previewing his bid on Facebook live. “Because there are two Californias – the one we have, and the one we could have. The California we have is in trouble, and we need to do something about it.”
Cox launched his formal campaign a month after opening an exploratory committee and seeding it with $1 million. He was active at last month’s state Republican Party convention, and plans to pair his run with a recurring proposal to create what he calls a Neighborhood Legislature.
Cox, who faces long odds given the political and demographic makeup of California, said in the online video that most of his family moved to California “when we were truly the Golden State.”
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“The best schools, best roads and highways, a financially sound public pension system, good plentiful jobs, affordable housing and quality healthcare. Sadly, that’s not the case today. And a major reason is the state Legislature.”
He added: “This isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem. It’s a problem for all Californians who care about honest government.”
Democrats in the contest include frontrunner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as Treasurer John Chiang, former state schools chief Delaine Eastin and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, though several others are considering their own bids.