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Joe Exotic Governor Campaign: Everything You Need to Know

March 19, 2020
4 min read

Joe Exotic is many things. He is a big cat breeder and self-professed animal lover. He is a country singer, and at one point, he has even been a candidate running for the position of the governor. Netflix’s ‘Tiger King‘ takes us deep into the life and aspirations of Exotic, as we figure out what exactly made the man tick.

It is evident to anyone who has seen the docuseries that Joe Exotic is an eccentric man. However, we’ve had uniquely eccentric men reaching the highest positions of power in the US, as the past Presidential elections have shown. Naturally, you might be curious about how Joe Exotic’s race for the governor turned out, and how many votes he was able to amass. We’ve got you covered in that regard.

Joe Exotic’s Run For Governor:

Joe Exotic’s political career started with an independent run for the White House in 2016. Although he did not manage to win, he did gather a cult following. Moreover, Exotic was mentioned by John Oliver, in his ‘Last Week Tonight‘ show, giving the zookeeper more exposure.

Joe came across as a down to earth candidate, who portrayed himself as pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, and anti-gun reforms. He also appeared to be concerned about global warming, at the time of his campaign. You can check out Exotic’s presidential campaign clip below.

While his run for President did not come to fruition, it gave him the traction required to run for the Oklahoma Governor’s office in 2018. Joe spoke about his political experience, saying “I learned more in 11 months in running for president than I did in 12 years of school”.

Appearing on the ballot as Joe Exotic, he described himself as an openly gay, gun-toting, pot supporting, and tiger owning candidate for the Libertarian Party. You can check out one of Exotic’s messages, while running for Governor, below.

Admittedly, Joe might have an unpolished exterior, but a lot of what he said managed to cut through to the core of Oklahoma politics. He stated, “I was the youngest police chief in the state of Texas history at the age of 19 years old. I took 16 bare acres in Oklahoma and $1,000 in my pocket and turned it into the largest privately-owned zoo in the world. As a businessman, and being in politics since I was 19-years-old, I know where the corruption is, I know how to fix it.”

Many might have written Joe off as being too outlandish, but he did have some fine points, including the need for mental health reform, taking care of the old in the state, and rehabilitation programs for criminals arrested on non-violent drug charges.

What Place Did Joe Exotic Finish and How Many Votes Did He Get?

Despite several good ideas and the appearance of genuine conviction, Joe Exotic did not manage to win the Libertarian primary for Governor of Oklahoma. He was defeated by Chris Powell and Rex Lawhorn, who proceeded to the runoffs. Out of a total of 3,558 votes that the Libertarian Party received, Joe Exotic managed to secure 18.7% which translates to 664 votes and finished third. This essentially crippled any hopes Exotic had of becoming the Governor.

As the docuseries shows, this run for the office prompted Exotic to funnel money meant for the zoo and use it for posters, and other promotional stunts. It led to an added strain with his then-partner, Jeff Lowe, and would ultimately be another step in his downward spiral that’d eventually see him hiring hitmen to assassinate Carole Baskin, and going to jail as a result.

Coming to the run for the Governor’s office, itself, Republican Party candidate, Kevin Stitt, ultimately won the elections on November 6, 2018.

Read More: Where is Joe Exotic Now?

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