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2018 election2018 governor's race

Republican John Cox takes shots at Sacramento 'cronies' and Democratic rivals in governor's race

Republican candidate for governor, John Cox, speaks to attendees of the Santa Monica Republican Women Federated Gubernatorial forum in October. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Republican candidate for governor, John Cox, speaks to attendees of the Santa Monica Republican Women Federated Gubernatorial forum in October. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox on Thursday blamed the Democrats in Sacramento for California’s most serious ills, including high levels of poverty and unaffordable housing costs.

Cox, speaking at the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco, promised to tamp down the clout of special interests and apply “common sense” and conservative fiscal discipline to put California back on the right path.

“This state under the current one-party crony rule has become unaffordable, especially for the middle class,” Cox said.

Cox also delivered a few jabs to his Democratic rivals in the governor’s race.

Cox said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed so many new government plans and programs that his platform “sounded like the Soviet Union.”

Cox, 62, also said he’s content to serve his full term as governor and is not looking to use the office as a springboard to the White House “like one candidate in this race.” It’s unclear whether Cox was referring to Newsom or one of the other major Democrats in the race, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang.

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released in early November found Cox to be in fifth place, with 11% of likely voters supporting him. He trailed Newsom, Villaraigosa, Chiang and GOP rival Travis Allen, an assemblyman from Huntington Beach.

The San Francisco event was moderated by Public Policy Institute President Mark Baldassare and was part of a series of public interviews of the candidates running for California governor.

Cox, a wealthy businessman and venture capitalist from Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County, hewed toward traditional conservative views on the economy and government regulation.

He’s called for the repeal of the new gas tax, which the governor and Legislature approved for transportation projects. Cox is also calling for the repeal and replacement of the California Environmental Quality Act, saying its regulations have been an impediment to building desperately needed housing in California.

Cox pitched his proposed statewide ballot measure for a “neighborhood legislature,” which would create tiny subdistricts within the state’s current 80 Assembly and 40 Senate districts.

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