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Tiger King’ Joe Exotic is Running for President. Again.

Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado, filed to run in Colorado's 2024 Democratic presidential primary



Published 06/15/23 07:49 PM ET

Eli Walsh


Former wildlife theme park owner, convicted felon and pandemic-era Netflix star Joe Exotic has filed to run against President Joe Biden in Colorado for the 2024 Democratic nomination.


Exotic, 60, sent a $500 check this week to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, allowing him to appear on the state’s March 5, 2024, primary ballot, the New York Post reported.


Exotic – whose real name is Joseph Maldonado and is nicknamed “The Tiger King” – operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, which predominantly featured tigers and other large cats in Oklahoma from 1999 to 2018.


In 2019, he was convicted on federal charges of animal abuse and attempted murder for hire – in a plot to have Floridian exotic cat sanctuary owner and frequent rival Carole Baskin killed – and sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. He plans to run for president from the federal prison in North Carolina where he is incarcerated.


Exotic gained national prominence in the Netflix true crime series “Tiger King,” which premiered in March 2020 and became one of the company’s most successful releases to date, being watched by more than 34 million people in the first 10 days after its release, according to Nielsen data.


He is also becoming a perennial political candidate, having run for president in 2016 as an independent candidate and in the Libertarian Party’s 2018 primary election for governor of Oklahoma.


Exotic indicated earlier this year that he planned to run for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination for 2024, but said in April that he planned to run as a Democrat instead. Prior to that switch, he had stated he would like former Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, to be his running mate.


Exotic joins a primary field against Biden that includes author and 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and environmental lawyer and vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The candidates have very little chance of defeating Biden.


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