Speed Reads

recalls and press conferences and bears oh my

California gubernatorial candidate brought a 1,000-pound Kodiak bear to a press conference

Caitlyn Jenner launched her California gubernatorial recall campaign on Tuesday with a splashy new video ad, but that might not wind up being the most memorable candidate introduction of the day.

That's because John Cox, another GOP candidate challenging California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the 2018 gubernatorial runner-up, brought a live, 1,000-pound Kodiak bear named Tag to his press conference. CalMatter's Emily Hoeven documented the surreal scene in a Twitter thread.

Cox reportedly said he enlisted the help of the trained bear because "we have to be tough as beasts" to fight special interests in California, such as when "our pretty boy governor ... gives no bid contracts all over the place to people who support his campaign." But he also seemed to acknowledge that it was a gimmick when asked why people should take him seriously when he's trotting out a bear at a press conference. "For better or worse, we need to get this message out," Cox said. "I wish that didn't need to be the case. You have to cut through the media. I'm going to talk about serious issues."