SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- California's Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox is targeting corruption in state politics as part of his big pitch to voters in the fall.
In the first interview since the June primary, Cox told KPIX 5 that ordinary Californians are suffering because of what he calls political corruption - small groups spending large sums of money on politicians who will cater to their agenda.
"You know, the people on the extremes are the ones that write the checks. You know, the best way to actually raise money and raise awareness is to be extreme and that leaves out so many people in the middle who don't care about politics," said Cox. "They just care about getting to work they care about feeding their families they care about getting their kids the best education they can."
Cox says he wants focus on those people. He points out that he led the effort to put the gas tax repeal on the November ballot.
A Chicago native who moved to California in 2007, Cox is an attorney, an accountant, and has run several businesses, usually involving real estate.
He's a mostly self-funded candidate; recent filings show his campaign has raised $8 million, but $5.5 million of that is his own money.
"I am going to be reaching out to Democrats, independents, with a real message that this is not about partisanship, this is not about what is going on in Washington," said Cox. "This is about what is going on in the here and now and the quality of life for people in California. And it has degraded under these politicians."
In his interview with KPIX, Cox also remarked on his strong showing on election night.
"Well, it's kind of funny because most of the experts had predicted all the way up until the election night that it was going to be two Democrats in the top two," said Cox.
But on election night it was Cox who came in second. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom got 34 percent of the vote, while Cox got 25 percent.
One thing that may have helped Cox was the endorsement of President Trump.
"As my opponent in the primary pointed out, I didn't vote for the president," said Cox. "I've never met him or talked to him but he endorsed me and I welcomed it."
Cox says the president endorsed him because he's a fellow businessman.
I have a different personality. I hope people see that. And that's fine. He is who he is and I am who I am, and people can make their own judgments," said Cox. "But I tell you, at the end of the day it's about delivering results for people."
While only 25 percent of voters in California are registered Republicans, Cox points to Maryland where similarly, only 25 percent of voters are Republican. However, voters in Maryland elected a Republican governor, Larry Hogan, who now enjoys a 71 percent approval rating according to a recent poll.
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