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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Businessman John Cox is gearing up for another race against his former gubernatorial rival, Gavin Newsom, and this time the Republican candidate wants people to “meet the beast” — literally.

Cox’s campaign launched its Meet the Beast Bus Tour Tuesday morning at Miller Regional Park in Sacramento. Cox brought a live bear with him.

Cox released a video earlier in the day referring to himself as “the beast” to the photogenic Newsom’s “beauty,” repeatedly labeling Newsom a “pretty boy” who lacks governing chops.

“The bear is here for a reason, to demonstrate we’re going to need beastly changes. And that’s to cut through the media you have to get this message out and that’s what we’re going to do here,” Cox said.

Though he’s hoping the bear sets him apart in an increasingly crowded field, Cox believes his previous experience running against Newsom will help.

“I got millions of votes, even though I wasn’t a career politician and I certainly wasn’t a celebrity, but you know it takes a little bit of time,” Cox told reporters.

The effort to recall Newsom was energized by anger over his handling of the pandemic, but Cox pointed to power, water and housing as other areas where he believes Newsom is failing. 

Newsom paints the recall effort as the party of Donald Trump clashing with the state’s progressive values. 

“Mr. Newsom checks all the boxes on politics. He talks a good game about diversity an inequality, but really and truly, he’s made life worse for people,” Cox said. “He’s made life more unequal in many ways. He can mouth the words real well but I would ask the voters of this state to really look at the result.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.