Donald Trump Endorses California Candidate John Cox in Battle for Governor’s Seat

John Cox
Kathleen Ronayne/AP
Washington, DC

President Donald Trump gave an assist to one of the Republicans battling to  to replace once-more retiring Democrat Jerry Brown in November’s election to become the state’s next governor.

Republican candidate for governor John Cox has been fighting to make it through California’s jungle primary in June, a system that takes the top two vote-getters, irrespective of party affiliation. 

Trump tweeted the endorsement on Friday evening, emphasizing the need for a California governor who “understands borders, crime and lowering taxes.” He identified Cox as that man, stating that he would be the best governor California has “ever had.” He gave his full endorsement to Cox and said he looks “forward to working with him to Make California Great Again!”

Cox and fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen revealed the immense popularity of opposing California’s sanctuary state laws during the California Republican Party’s spring convention two weeks ago. The two battled it out in attempts to secure the California Republican Party endorsement, each afforded 12 minutes to make the case for his own endorsement ahead of an endorsement vote. Ultimately neither secured the state party nomination with Cox falling just under the 60 percent required, yielding 55.3 percent to Allen’s 40.5 percent.

Cities and counties in California have been jumping one after another to oppose the state’s “sanctuary” laws that prohibit state and local authorities from complying with requests from federal immigration authorities. 

In early March U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to California where he announced that the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit challenging three of California’s sanctuary laws, including SB54.

Members of the Los Alamitos city council led a tidal wave of cities and counties formally opposing California’s sanctuary laws when, on March 19, it became the first to vote to reject California’s sanctuary state laws and file an amicus brief to join the DOJ lawsuit.

Trump held a roundtable discussion on Wednesday at the White House with stakeholders in the opposition to California’s sanctuary laws. “The state of California’s attempts to nullify federal law have sparked a rebellion by patriotic citizens who want their families protected and their borders secured,” Trump said as he recalled cases where Americans have been killed by illegal aliens. AG Sessions participated in the roundtable, calling sanctuary city officials “irrational, they make no sense, they are radical really at their fundamental basis.”

“I am honored and deeply grateful to my President and I am looking forward to working with him to make California great again,” Cox said in response to Trump’s endorsement. “Like the President, I’m a businessman who knows how to get things done. We’re going to secure the border, empower California small businesses, lower taxes, and make our state affordable for everyone.”

Cox has admitted that he did not vote for candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. During a debate just last week Cox courted California Trump voters, saying that he regrets not voting for Trump, “I wasn’t sure he’s a conservative. I am now, he’s a conservative,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Cox ran for Congress in 2000 and U.S. Senate in 2002 in Illinois, losing the Republican primary in both races. In 2004 he ran for Cook County Recorder of Deeds. He declared his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2008 election, but dropped out before the election.

Cox came in second and Allen in third behind Democrat Gavin Newsom, the current Lieutenant Governor of the state, in a late April poll. Both Republicans beat out Democrat former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the poll that showed him with just nine percent, falling from a 17 percent showing in that poll last December.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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