Los Angeles Times

Before he launched a bid for California governor, Republican John Cox made a fortune in real estate

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. - Tucked away off the main drag in this northwest Indiana town, not far from a busy plasma donation center and a former Tepe's Department Store that serves as the town hall, sits a cluster of nondescript apartment buildings.

The Chapelle Le Grande, with its garden-style units, is among the more than 22 Midwest apartment complexes that have made Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox a wealthy man.

Cox has tapped into the profits from those real estate ventures, combined with the proceeds from his Illinois-based law office, investment firm and property management business, to bankroll two decades of ambitious - and thus far unsuccessful - forays into politics. This year, that wellspring of cash has helped take Cox all the way to the November election and a one-on-one face-off with Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The Rancho Santa Fe Republican has poured $5.6 million into his campaign for governor of the $14.7 million he's raised, and it wasn't the first time he cracked open his wallet. Cox loaned $1 million to his quixotic bid for president in 2008; more than $1.1 million for his failed U.S. Senate runs in Illinois in 2002 and 2004; and more than $750,000 on other political runs in

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