Ex-Presidential Candidate Leading Filner Recall

A Rancho Santa Fe businessman joins the recall effort alongside

A prominent figure in the recall campaign launched to oust San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox.

Special Section: Mayor Under Fire

Cox, 58, may be a relative new player in San Diego politics but he has a long background in politics in his hometown of Chicago including a run for U.S. president.

A self-described lawyer, accountant, businessman and reformer, Cox served as president of the Cook County Republican Party who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate.

Five years ago, he was so disillusioned with the state of nation that he decided to throw his hat into the ring for the country's most powerful office.

He was the first Republican to formally seek the party's 2008 nomination for President of the United States.

With little voter support, Cox withdrew his candidacy and suspended his presidential campaign.

Soon after, he moved to Rancho Santa Fe and found himself getting involved in California politics as part of a reform effort to take power away from campaign funders.

He and a team of attorneys came up with an idea called the Neighborhood Legislature which he calls a potential change to the California Constitution.

The plan would take the current Assembly district and decrease the voter to lawmaker ratio. Each district would break down into 100 so-called "neighborhood districts" with roughly 5,000 voters each.

The theory is that state lawmakers would be more connected to their community and less responsive to special interests. The result would be 12,000 legislators.

The recall effort was too similar to his current project not to get involved Cox said. 

"Filner is a living breathing example of the dysfunction in our political system because he would not be in office were it not for the funders that put him in office so he could do their bidding," Cox said.

As a father of four girls, Cox was outraged with how the mayor allegedly treated women.

"He's a flawed individual, clearly, maybe mentally ill, I don’t know what problem is with him,” Cox said. “But what I do know is that he shouldn't be in a leadership position in a city as important as San Diego."

Now he's helping to finance the effort to recall embattled Mayor Bob Filner. He has contributed $5,000 and pledged $25,000. He also said he’s willing to go higher.

"Well, I spent a million dollars in presidential race,” Cox said. “I have extra resources that I can put to this."

Rancho Santa Fe resident and longtime San Diego businessman Fred Applegate has also donated time and effort according to Cox.

Elisa Brent and Michael Pallamary first surfaced as the faces behind the recall. Soon after, they joined Stampp Corbin as a united force to see Filner kicked out of office.

On Tuesday, Brent told NBC 7 she has since stepped down as co-chair.

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