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Republican campaigns for California governor with 1000-pound bear

California Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox brought a special guest with him on the campaign trial in Sacramento on Tuesday: a 1,000-pound bear.

Video footage of the launch of Cox’s “Meet the Beast Bus Tour” on Tuesday showed a large bear moving in a closed-off area behind Cox as he delivered remarks.

Cox has promised to make “beastly changes” to California if he is elected to the governorship.

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“The beautiful politicians have failed California,” Cox said, according to the Times of San Diego. “We need big, beastly changes to save it. I’ll cut taxes, make California more affordable, and shake up Sacramento.”

Cox’s campaign is putting $5 million into an advertising campaign that depicts Democratic Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia secretary of state confirms Newsom recall election Newsom overstated California's wildfire prevention efforts: report 70 percent of Californians over 12 have received one shot of coronavirus vaccine MORE as the “beauty” who needs to be replaced by a “beast,” the newspaper reported.

On Monday, Cox's campaign released an ad called “Meet the BEAST,” where the narrator says, “That’s our choice, California. You want beauty,” which is followed by the sound of a parrot saying “pretty boy,” “or a ball-busting beast?”

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Cox’s campaign trail display comes just over a week after the California secretary of State’s office announced that the effort aimed at recalling Newsom has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Cox, however, faces a crowded field of candidates vying for Newsom’s post.

Olympic gold medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner announced her candidacy last month. On Tuesday, she released a campaign ad saying that California needs a “thoughtful disruptor.”

In a statement to The Hill, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it was “unfortunate and shameful” for the bear to be used in such a way.

"Gone should be the days when wild animals were treated as toys or props, so it’s unfortunate and shameful that Tag the Kodiak bear has been exploited in this way,” said Debbie Metzler, PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement.

“It’s also dangerous, given the bear’s long, sharp claws, which can disfigure or even kill someone with one swipe. Bears need to be left alone to live a bear life, not confined to a pen on asphalt and wheeled out for events—and PETA urges anyone with an ounce of decency to keep dangerous wild animals out of their publicity stunts,” she added.

Updated at 5:03 p.m.