Stunt Involving Bear, Ads Bring California Recall Into News Phase

California's recall election now features “the beast" and a “compassionate disruptor." That's how John Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, Republicans running for California governor, pitched themselves to voters Tuesday in new campaign ads, taking different tones in their bids to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Video Transcript

- We begin with the recall race ramping up. The candidates hoping to oust Governor Newsom, kicking off their campaigns, showing no stunt is off limits, even bringing a 1,000 pound bear right to Sacramento. We have a lot to get to tonight. Thanks so much for joining us, everyone. I'm Elizabeth [? Kling. ?]

- And I'm Tony Lopez. The election is still likely six months away, but it's already getting pretty wild. CBS 13's Marissa Perlman is live at the Capitol with what we can expect. Marissa?

MARISSA PERLMAN: Well, a recall campaign, Tony, historically, here in California can be full of theatrics, and at times, even comical. But tonight, we're learning, this time around, it can also be expensive.

- We're going to need big, beastly changes.

- A bus tour featuring Tag, the Kodiak bear. But Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox says, his campaign is no circus.

- Because when you're in a hole, you stop digging a deeper hole.

- And Caitlyn Jenner enters the recall race, releasing her first campaign ad.

CAITLYN JENNER: I came here with a dream.

- CBS 13's political expert Gary Dietrich says, come fall, you will see an election likely with dozens of names on the ballot. But it will come with the hefty price tag, so how much will the recall election cost California taxpayers? $400 million is one estimate. Now, California's finance department won't have an official cost, until this summer. Those who run the election expect extra COVID related precautions come fall, and experts say, that could drive up the cost.

- I think one of the big question marks is going to be, are all voters going to be sent a mail in ballot, or do they have to be upon the request? Now, if they're all sent, you just can imagine the tens of millions of registered voters in California. That will drive up the cost considerably.

- In Sacramento, today, the Association for California Firefighters supported Governor Newsom's effort to stay in office, saying those dollars could be better used elsewhere.

GAVIN NEWSOM: It seems to me an extraordinary amount of money to waste on a recall and a sideshow, but there's higher, better uses of those resources.

- But the founder of this recall campaign, Orrin Heatley, defends the price of the effort, saying change is expensive.

- Look at what he has done to our state already. Look at the damage.

- Well, something to keep in mind. The estimated cost of this election is based on fiscal surveys of counties across the state, but political experts warn that those unofficial numbers end up being used to justify positions on the recall and aren't always neutral.

- All right, thanks, Marissa.