When Neel Kashkari made his ill-fated run for governor last year against popular incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown, many thought Kashkari’s real goal was establishing his statewide credentials so that he might challenge for Senate once one of the two long-serving incumbents retired. But Kashkari said this weekend that he would not challenge for the open seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer, according to the Sacramento Bee, meaning that no Republicans have yet declared for the race.
Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasure official who admitted having voted for Barack Obama in 2008, enjoyed the backing of the Republican establishment, which supported him against pro-gun, anti-amnesty conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly. Kashkari performed well in his sole debate with Brown, and won respect for the professional quality of his campaign. Yet he lost 60% to 40% even while outspending Brown, who was lifted to re-election largely on the strength of the Latino vote.
There is still time for a Republican to enter the race, and several other candidates are exploring the option, including Assemblyman Rocky Chavez and former party chair Tom Del Beccaro. On the Democratic side, Attorney General Kamala Harris lost no time in launching her campaign, even as former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa considers a run.
Some say demographics rule out a Republican, while others say a GOP win is possible, given the top-two primary system.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak