OKLAHOMA CITY – He’s the latest Oklahoman to announce his candidacy for president of the United States.
“Joe Exotic” as many people know him mailed his statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission late last week.
You may have seen him in the news before.
His name used to be Joe Schreibvogel, but he recently got married and took his husband’s name.
He is now Joseph Maldonado, running as an independent candidate for president of the US.
He runs GW’s Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood.
We caught up with Maldonado and his husband at Will Rogers World Airport as they were flying out to Ohio Sunday afternoon.
Maldonado says he is having a press conference there on Monday afternoon and has tickets to attend Donald Trump’s rally there.
“What’s my chances of winning? Who knows, you know? Pretty slim. But I’m going to give them a run for their money,” he said.
Maldonado has been under fire by animal rights groups and has been fined in the past by the USDA.
But he says he’s already put all that out there and even addresses that in his 47th video he’s put out since deciding to run for president.
“You know all you people that are friends with Carol and the animal rights people and the people who don’t like me. Ya’ll go play somewhere else because right now we don’t even have time to respond to your bull—-,” Maldonado said in his video posted to his Facebook page.
Maldonado says he has 17 million viewers on You Tube and that more than 38,000 all over the world watched his show last night on JoeExotic.tv.
While he says he may not have millions of dollars like Hilary Clinton or Trump, he does have people in every state committed to running campaign offices.
“It’s going to be a grassroots organization, grassroots campaign for the small people for a change,” said Maldonado.
Maldonado claims this is not a publicity stunt and that he is serious about the campaign.
It doesn’t bother him if he doesn’t look or act like the typical candidate.
“It shouldn’t be about my sexual preference. It shouldn’t be about the way I look. It shouldn’t be about anything else,” said Maldonado. “I’m not going to wear a suit. I’m not cutting my hair because I’m not going to be fake.”
Maldonado says some issues that are important to him are rights for veterans and health care.
And although he’s never held public office, he says he’s always been involved in politics and was a police chief at one point in time.
He says he currently has several websites under construction so that people can comment and let him know what they want to see done.