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    Cigarettes Cheaper President Ned Roscoe to Run for Calif. Gov.

    Tobacco shop operator running on a pro-smoker platform.

    BENICIA, Calif. -- Two officers of Benicia-based Cigarettes Cheaper -- the nation's largest specialty retailer of smokes -- announced yesterday that they'll both run for governor in California's recall election on a pro-smoker platform.

    Company president Ned Roscoe, son of CEO John Roscoe, really will run as a Libertarian, while vice president Jeremy Chapman runs as a Democrat. A newsletter-style flier the company issued Thursday said that "for the first time in history, smokers have an opportunity to get power and do good."

    "About 20 percent of California adults smoke cigarettes. That means 4,000,000 Californians over the age of 18 smoke cigarettes," it says. "If half of those people vote, and if half of those voters vote with us, that's enough votes to carry the election."

    Roscoe and Chapman are running on a platform of "no new taxes," "no stupid laws," "get the work done," "respect everyone," and "earn respect for California," the flier says.

    It also includes a note from John Roscoe, who wrote that "California's gubernatorial campaign has already been called a circus. This will be a circus with or without smokers."

    "We don't plan on spending any money on this circus, but we expect our act to be fun," he wrote. "Smokers have already been overcharged. Our act is to get smokers to stand up for themselves. Our plan is to use our stores as the campaign headquarters to rally your support for your rights."

    Cigarettes Cheaper has about 600 stores in 21 states, with more than a third of them in California. The privately held company had estimated sales of about $750 million and about 2,350 employees in 2001. The company is no stranger to mixing politics with publicity. The elder Roscoe was the major sponsor behind the unsuccessful Prop. 28 of 2000, which would've repealed the 50-cents-per-pack cigarette tax enacted by Prop. 10 of 1998.

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