Nutty John Cox for California Governor?

John CoxJohn Cox was hardly a serious candidate for governor of California when the first UC Berkeley/IGS poll was announced earlier this year in March and gave him, the only Republican listed in the poll, 18 percent of the vote and the prized second spot against Gavin Newsom, suggesting to amateur political observers that he might have a chance to get into a November 2018 Republican vs. Democrat run-off with Newsom, offering the California GOP its first long-shot chance at statewide office in years. The ensuing press reports took Cox seriously. But none of the reporters did much homework on Cox, labeling him positively as a political newcomer or outsider. They all failed to mention he had been on the ballot before in California, with an awful showing. The reporters could have recalled for readers that Cox was surely not a fresh face to our statewide ballot, and that the last time he was on it, he ran for the Republican nomination for president in the February, 2008 primary, and proved a miserable votegetter, barely mustering 3,200 votes statewide, finishing with .01 percent, while both John McCain and Mitt Romney drew over a million votes each.

Cox, a native of Illinois, is a candidate for governor who must NOT be taken seriously. He is a serial candidate, and what older Republican operatives might label a “Harold Stassen.” Stassen once served as governor of Minnesota and was termed a “boy wonder,” but was bit so hard by the political bug that he ran for the GOP nomination for president, unsuccessfully, 9 times in a row, losing every time. Yet Cox differs from Stassen in that Cox has never won any elective office, and he has run plenty of times. He has actually hit a trifecta of losses having run for every federal office one can, losing each time. Cox has run for Cook County Clerk, Congress, and U.S. Senate, all in Illinois, losing all the races, all losses by wide margins.

But in 2008, despite all his previous electoral defeats, Cox decided to run for president as well. He says he contributed $1 million to his campaign, visited all 99 counties in Iowa, campaigned hard in New Hampshire with 14 visits, visited South Carolina 10 times to campaign, and appeared on the ballot in California. During his campaign, he got into an altercation with security at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley because his campaign performance had proven so insignificant that they would not let him in to the presidential debate. Even though he was excluded, he still tried to use a questionable media credential to enter the premises under the ruse he was a fake press operative. His vote-getting prowess was a disaster – he received not one delegate to the Republican National Convention. In major counties in California that will be very important to the governor’s race, like Fresno, for example, he got just 60 votes across the county’s three congressional districts, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

By June 2017, Cox quickly fell in the gubernatorial race polls, losing 50 percent of his initial support, in the second UC Berkeley/IGS  poll when just one other Republican was added to the mix by the poll authors – this time former Assemblyman David Hadley, who was not an announced candidate for governor at the time he was added to the poll and who has since stated he is not running for the office. The significance of the second poll, with Cox running hard for several months yet dropping from 18 percent to 9 percent as an announced candidate, and Hadley at 7 percent as an unannounced candidate with no campaign, established that Republicans had hardly raised a groundswell of support for Cox in the first poll, rather, Cox made a showing in the first poll in March because he was the only candidate on the poll Republicans had to chose from. As soon as another Republican was put on the list to chose from in the second poll, even someone not running for the office at the time, Cox’s support quickly and very significantly tanked.

Cox’s lack of real support was evidenced again in a poll in Silicon Valley in May where, once again, when listed as the only Republican on the ballot he received 16 percent of the vote, however, when the poll considered “favorability,” Cox garnered a terrible 3 percent, the lowest favorability rate of all the candidates.

When asked, Cox would not tell the San Francisco Chronicle whether or not he voted for Donald Trump for president. While Cox’s strategy may be to separate himself from Trump, who surely is not as popular in California as Gavin Newsom, Cox will not be endearing himself with the thousands of members of Republican volunteer organizations in the state who care about their party’s candidates. Members of the California Republican Woman’s Federated Clubs, for example, who form many local clubs that are the backbone of the state GOP’s grass-roots operations, may or may not have supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, but they surely all overwhelmingly voted for him as the Republican Party’s candidate for president, even if some of them had to “hold their noses” out of party loyalty. These voters will not be impressed with Cox’s lack of candor about his own presidential vote, which will stink to them of party disloyalty.

The issues Californians and Republicans care about in opinion polls, like being taxed too much, do not appear on Cox’s radar screen. Cox’s central campaign theme is his “Neighborhood Legislature” idea, to expand the California Senate and Assembly to 12,000 members. It is truly a nutty idea that has no support in opinion polls. While the state Legislature truly is in need of reform, like making itself a part-time body, world history tells us increasing its size to that of a small coastal city is not going to improve policy. There were also thousands of members of the Soviet Union’s legislative body, far too many, intentionally, to actually make decisions, and the result was the concentration of power in a small committee known as the Politburo, which established a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” We are close enough as it is today with near dictatorship of Democratic control in Sacramento, to just add thousands more people to the legislative ranks.

What California needs is some political balance, and if the Republican Party can settle on a single, strong candidate to run for governor in a field of many Democrats, there is indeed a long-shot chance a united GOP could get their candidate into a run-off with a Democrat and then see what happens. The fact is Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, all deeply “blue” Democratic states, currently have Republican governors, elected to balance Democratic control in the state. It would be a tough order for the GOP to fulfill, but not impossible, as long as Republicans end up with a candidate with a much better vote-getting history, and who runs on issues voters actually care about, than nutty John Cox.



  1. askeptic says

    Cox is the perfect closing act for the CA GOP as a political movement.

    • Well said! We need a Conservative Party that stands for the values of the US Constitution & works to make the government “small again.” The CA GOP is a complete fake; filled with liars.

  2. LibertyBelle says

    “These voters will not be impressed with Cox’s lack of candor about his own presidential vote, which will stink to them of party disloyalty.”
    Yet, last gubernatorial election, the GOP establishment happily endorsed, which then forced Neil Kaskari, a two-time Obama voter, on these “loyal” Republican voters! Oh, the hypocrisy 🙁

  3. The Californian republican ” leadership” is their own biggest enemy. They promote bad candidates and destroy decent candidates.
    They refuse to open their primary elections, though many decline to state are conservatives. All of this and more is why decline to state voters out number republicans…or soon will.

    • The last time I got a hold of the Republican Party HDQ here in California, they told me to vote for a democrap!!!! We don’t have a Republican Party HDQ here. We have to band together in order to get Republicans elected. It really is a must in 2020!

  4. James W. Ricketts says

    Mr. Cox’s initiative petition seeking to INCREASE the number of members of the California Legislature should tell us all we need to know about him. Anyone who thinks that MORE Democrat politicians are the solution to this State’s problems has all the credibility of a patent medicine salesman.

  5. Tarzantom says

    All you people with little faith! There is no such thing as a perfect candidate. Maybe not a successful politician but he is a successful businessman and has identified problems and has some solutions, is articulate and is aggressively campaigning.

    I would hope that he and Travis Allen will make a deal that only one Republican will be on the June 2018 primary. We do not want a repeat of the 2016 U.S. Senate contest with Dem vs Dem.

  6. Kay is spot on with her missive. The very idea that the Republicans have a closed primary should make anyone with an IQ of 2 scratch their heads in wonderment. Now, while we’re at it lets throw in the idea that they think they can tell a woman what she can do with her body and their constant drumbeat on the evils of devil weed and you got yourself a trifecta. I got a better chance of playing for the Patriots than they have of fielding a governor. Just look at what the Democrats were able to put in the Governor’s mansion in the last election of any consequence in California.

  7. Brenda Torres says

    I WILL VOTE FOR ANYONE BUT GAVIN NEWSOM…!!! He would be a repeat of Governor Brown on Steroids!

    • I check out Cox and pretty much discounted him immediately. Then Travis Allen announced and personally I like what I see. We may not have much of a choice but we need to get behind ONE candidate in order to stand any chance.

      • Nancy Madigan says

        I will vote Travis Allen. Never Cox.

        • showandtell says

          I’m with you, Never Cox. Travis Allen all the way. It’s not only that Allen speaks about every issue that is deeply worrisome to MOST Californians — and don’t let that small percentage of corrupt money-and-power-hungry jerks fool you, MOST Californians want these items addressed — it’s also that he has the record to show us we can have confidence in his leadership.

  8. David Morgan says

    This posted on Facebook

  9. CaliExpat says

    Tom McClintock for Governor…

    Had he won in place of Ahhhnold, we might still be living and voting in California..

    Instead, we signed and returned our pink cards to Mark Lynn in Ventura County, confirming that we are no longer on the Ventura County Republican voting rolls…
    Good luck conservative voters in Cali… you’re outgunned and outnumbered…
    Figured it was time to go where there’s at least a chance our votes will count…so we chose the reddest county adjacent to metro Denver….
    See you in October for vacation, however…

  10. CaliExpat says

    Lunn, not Lynn…

    Stupid autocorrect…

  11. Vote Travis Allen California Governor 2018!

  12. Lori fremo says

    Can we trust this writer ?

    • Cox running for Governor of California? He ran against President Obama in 2003 for U.S. Senate in ILlinois. Not a true California not to be Trusted!

      • James V. Lacy says

        He actually did not run against Obama for senate. Cox sometimes says on talk radio shows that he ran against Obama, but Cox actually ran for US Senate from Illinois and lost the Republican primary in the election two years before Obama ran and won. The year Obama ran for Senate, Cox instead ran for Cook County Clerk in Illinois and lost the election.

Speak Your Mind