Trump endorses John Cox of Rancho Santa Fe for California governor


John Cox (Credit: Tommy Lee Kreger)

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SAN DIEGO — President Donald Trump Friday endorsed Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox for governor.

“California finally deserves a great Governor, one who understands borders, crime and lowering taxes. John Cox is the man — he’ll be the best Governor you’ve ever had,” Trump tweeted. “I fully endorse John Cox for governor and look forward to working with him to Make California Great Again!”

Polling suggests Cox, a Republican, is neck-and-neck with Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen for second place in California’s gubernatorial race. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic lieutenant governor, so far has polled ahead of the other Democratic candidates in the race — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang and former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.

Only two candidates will advance past the June 5 primary to a November runoff election.

Delegates at the state Republican convention held in San Diego this month overwhelmingly favored Cox over Allen by a 55 to 41 percent margin, though Cox still fell short of the 60 percent threshold required to secure the party’s official endorsement.

Friday, Cox voiced his appreciation for Trump’s endorsement.

“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. “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.”

Allen, who holds strong support from the Republican Party’s conservative wing, has criticized Cox for voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson over Trump in 2016.

Cox said at a debate last week he regrets the decision.

“I wasn’t sure he’s a conservative. I am now, he’s a conservative,” Cox said.

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