California Republican gubernatorial candidate on Newsom recall effort: 'Voters have finally woken up here'


California businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox thinks “voters have finally woken up” in the Golden State, where an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is well underway.

“I think the voters have finally woken up here. … I do believe that the voters, when presented with a realistic alternative … they’re going to decide that’s the way to go,” Cox told Fox News. “The insiders like Gavin Newsom have run this state down, and it’s time that the people decide what’s going to happen.”

California Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox speaks during campaign stop as Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., looks on in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

California Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox speaks during campaign stop as Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., looks on in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Another Republican gubernatorial candidate, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, is leading the recall effort that reached more than 2.1 million signatures in March despite only needing 1.5 million for a recall vote on this year’s ballot.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., backed Newsom during a March 25 news conference, when she rejected any notion that Democrats should run a back-up candidate as an insurance policy during Newsom’s likely recall election later this year.

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“I think it’s an unnecessary notion. I don’t even think it rises to the level of an idea,” Pelosi said at the time.

She then suggested the recall effort is being funded by backers of former President Donald Trump and said Democrats should all help Newsom stay in office, adding that she thinks the governor “will defeat this quite successfully.”

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Cox said the House Speaker’s comments were “a gamble” on the idea that “Newsom’s going to survive a recall” because “she thinks that the Democratic constituency here will just vote for Newsom despite all these continued problems.”

“I don’t think so,” he said. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, gestures in front of local officials while speaking about COVID-19 vaccines at the Fresno Fairgrounds, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Fresno, Calif. (John Walker/The Fresno Bee via AP)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, gestures in front of local officials while speaking about COVID-19 vaccines at the Fresno Fairgrounds, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Fresno, Calif. (John Walker/The Fresno Bee via AP)

Cox noted that in the November general election, voters rejected Prop. 15 — an $11.5 billion-per-year tax hike, Prop. 16 to reinstate affirmative action and Prop. 25 to replace cash bail; and they voted in favor of Prop. 22 to limit what independent contractors California can reclassify as full-time employees under AB5, a law that passed in January 2020. 

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The businessman, who also ran for governor in the state in 2018, recalled a recent visit to Riverside County where he met with “regular people and small business owners.”

“They’re absolutely done with the good looks and toothy smile of Mr. Newsom, who keeps talking about equity… to appeal to his various constituencies, but he’s not really doing anything to turn this state around,” he said. “That’s why they’re done with him. I certainly believe this recall is going to open up this dialogue about the future of this state.”

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Cox expressed the need for lower taxes and housing costs, regulatory rollbacks, alternative energy options and a stronger water system.

Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

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