Former candidate for governor says he tested positive for COVID-19

John Cox
(Courtesy of The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox said he is recovering at home


John Cox, the Rancho Santa Fe attorney and Republican businessman who challenged then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the 2018 governor’s race, announced Wednesday, March 25, he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Cox, who collected almost 5 million votes in the November 2018 general election, made the announcement on social media, saying he hoped that publicizing his condition would enable the country to tackle the outbreak without compromising the way Americans live.

“Last week after feeling ill with mild flu-like symptoms, and out of the abundance of caution because my wife is immuno-supressed due to a chronic condition, my physician tested me for COVID-19,” the former candidate said.

“I tested positive and we have been following doctors orders at home and the quarantine protocols regarding this disease,” the statement continued. “We are so appreciative of the doctors and other healthcare professionals that have helped with my recovery.”

Cox, a 64-year-old Illinois transplant, said his symptoms were relatively minor and he was slowly feeling better.

“I decided to go public with this diagnosis to muster support for defeating this without destroying our way of life,” he said. “I’d also hope that this experience should instruct us on doing better in the future to tackle problems like housing and homelessness that this pandemic has highlighted.”

The attorney and accountant placed second to Newsom in a wide field of candidates seeking the Governor’s Office in the June 2018 California primary election.

The two men squared off in the November general election run-off but Newsom prevailed, securing about 7.7 million votes to the 4.7 million people who supported Cox.

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has sickened almost 500,000 people across the globe in recent months, including more than 54,000 in the United States. The virus had killed nearly 21,000 people by Wednesday, March 25.

California had reported almost 3,000 cases by mid-afternoon Wednesday, March 25; San Diego County recorded at least 242 cases to date, including two people who died from the infection.

-- Jeff McDonald is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune