Republican businessman John Cox, edges out Villaraigosa in new poll

Newsom maintains strong lead in new poll

Fresno, Calif. - Just two days ago former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came to the Central Valley campaigning to be the next governor.

According to new poll numbers released Wednesday, there may be a possibility he may not make it past the June 5 primary.

The Public Policy Institute of California poll shows Lt. Gov. Gavin newsom maintains a strong lead with 28 percentage points, Villaraigosa dropped to third place with 12 percent.

Republican Jim Cox, a businessman from San Diego, edged out Villaraigosa by two percentage points with 14 percent.

Before the release of the new poll, Villaraigosa was just two points behind Newsom, but this boost in popularity for Cox gives local Republicans hope that they may have a voice this upcoming election.

"We're very excited we got somebody in the top two right now," says Fred Vanderhoof, chairman, Fresno County Republican Party. "John cox is for repealing the gas tax and lowering taxes. We have the highest income tax in the country."

In a statement by Cox he says:

"We're breaking out and Republicans are clearly starting to unite behind our campaign. But not only Republicans, this poll shows we are also running second among likely independent voters. California is ready for a fiscally conservative businessman that will end both the crazy train and sanctuary state foolishness."

Political Analyst Don Larson says Cox isn't well known, and if he really wants maintain a lead to beat out candidates like Villaraigosa and John Chiang, he has to raise more money. 

"The way you make yourself well known is you spend money on ads on TV and in the newspaper and billboard signs. You go out and meet people and make as many public appearances as you can to convince people you have an interest and ability to do the job," says Larson.

A Republican has not won the governor's race since Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

The poll shows that Republican Travis Allen is trailing Villaraigosa by two points.

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