Race for Governor: Joe Exotic

Race for Governor: Joe Exotic

On June 26th, Oklahomans will have a chance to go to the polls to pick who they want to represent their party in the gubernatorial election. FOX 25 is profiling the major candidates in all three parties that will appear on the ballot.

The wild card in Oklahoma politics of late is the eccentric tiger king of Wynnewood, Joe Exotic. He got into politics with a independent run for the White House in 2016 that included regular video messages and a cult following online. He is now a member of the Libertarian Party and wants to be the party's nominee for governor.

“I learned more in 11 months in running for president than I did in 12 years of school,” Joe Exotic said, “I was like, I can't keep my mouth shut for four more years.”

On the ballot he will appear as Joe Exotic, but that is the person Joseph Maldonado-Passage first created for his stage shows featuring exotic animals. When he turned his attention to the political theatre he kept the moniker and became known as the openly-gay, gun toting, tiger owning, pot supporting, unabashed libertarian candidate for governor.

“You know I’ve experimented doing a lot; I could be politically correct and I could be polite and I could lay it all out on the line and nobody listens,” Joe explained.

Beyond his unpolished exterior, Joe's passion in politics comes from the frustrations he has with what's happened over the last few years in Oklahoma.

“All the rights for all the people all the time,” Joe said of his campaign. “Every time the politicians up at the capitol screw up and ain’t got no money it's the citizens that pay the price by higher taxes our private property is our private property.”

Despite being cast as the outlandish outsider his policy proposals cut deep into the core of many of Oklahoma's biggest issues.

“We've got to do something about mental health in this state and we don't take enough care of our old people.”

The Joe Exotic platform also touches on the need to better pay teachers and criminal justice reform.

“We could take nonviolent drug people and take them out of prison and put them through a work program and a drug program for 60 days and give them a chance to get clean and back out in society,” Joe told FOX 25.

While he will continue to walk on the wild side of political spectrum, Joe Exotic says politicians should get used to the fact he's not going anywhere.

“I just feel strongly about its your life, you own it, and as long as you don't hurt anyone else you should have the right to do whatever you want.”

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