LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11) - As Republican John Cox runs to lead one of the most Democratic states in the country, he's trying to avoid discussion about President Donald Trump.
In a pre-taped interview for FOX Los Angeles' political show "The Issue Is:", Elex Michaelson asked Cox three different times if he'd welcome President Trump appearing at one of his rallies?
All three times, Cox wouldn't answer the question directly.
"He's the President of the United States, I'm focusing on the issues that really matter to Californians," Cox responded.
During the primary, the President endorsed John Cox via several tweets.
Ever since, Cox's opponent on the Democratic side has made the President's support a major talking point. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has accused Cox of "parroting" the President's language.
On "The Issue Is:," Cox responded to Newsom: "He'd like to have the whole race about the President that's because he's been part of the problem. For 16 years, he did nothing about homelessness, the cost of living, the cost of gasoline, the cost of housing."
Cox's campaign also points to a recent Politifact article that said Newsom's comments about "parroting" are false. (LINK: https://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2018/sep/12/gavin-newsom/gavin-newsoms-misleading-claim-john-cox-parroting-/)
Cox said he wouldn't agree to debate Newsom on CNN unless the moderators were California journalists asking California focused questions. Cox said he didn't want CNN reporter Jim Acosta asking a bunch of questions about President Trump.
Throughout this campaign, Newsom has had a significant lead in major polls and in fundraising.
But a recent poll by Probolsky Research shows the gap tightening. According to the poll, 44 percent support Newsom, 39 percent back Cox, and 17 percent are undecided.
Cox said that the biggest difference between a Cox or Newsom Administration is "having an affordable life in California."
Cox argued that the state is over-taxed and over-regulated. "A lot of people have decided to give up on California," he said.
For example, Cox argued there are too many rules when it comes to climate change. "We don't have a balance. The special interests in Sacramento are all about getting their way."
Cox believes that the DMV is a "sign of governmental incompetence" and wants a special session to be called to deal with the long wait times and voter registration problems.
Cox is also pushing to repeal the gas tax and cut housing regulations to incentivize more building.
On the issue of abortion, Michaelson asked Cox about the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturn and abortion returning to a state's rights issue.
Cox said changing abortion laws is not a focus of his campaign. "I'm not running to change that. I'm personally pro-life, I'm not running to change that one iota."
Michaelson also played a "name game" where he asked Cox to describe notable California political figures using one word.
Here's how he answered:
Gov. Jerry Brown--train
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom--superficial
Sen. Dianne Feinstein--dedicated
Sen. Kamala Harris--empty
Elex's complete interview will air on "The Issue Is:" on Friday September 14th on FOX 11 Los Angeles.