If California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari wants any chance at winning the general election against incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown later this year, he will have to persuade a sizable chunk of the state’s Independent and Democratic voters to vote for him in November. Kashkari looked to get a head-start on that goal on Sunday, when he spoke about educational inequality to traditionally Democratic voters at the Living Gospel Church in South Los Angeles.
Kashkari spoke primarily about the need to reform California’s educational system, noting that California’s schools, employment rate, and levels of poverty all rank near the bottom among states nationwide, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m running for governor because I want to change this,” he said. “I want to rebuild the middle class, and you do that by making sure young people get a good education and growing the economy so that there are good jobs available so people can work hard and build a good life for themselves.”
His campaign’s new strategy of attempting to connect with traditionally Democratic voters represents what the Times calls a necessary “tonal shift” from his campaign strategy in the primary election.
Despite being seen as more moderate than his primary election GOP rival Tim Donnelly, Kashkari played up his conservative credentials in that contest in an effort to capture crucial Republican votes. There was none of that on Sunday; Kashkari avoided mentioning his GOP affiliation, referenced his work for both George W. Bush and President Obama, and even compared his own life story to the President’s.
There is no other country in the world where a brown kid like me, the son of immigrants, gets to go to Washington and work for two presidents. By the way, President Obama would not get elected in Germany or France or China. Only America. But you know what President Obama and I have in common? We both got that good education, and that good education opened the doors. And if you get that good education, nothing can stop you.
The Times notes that Kashkari had visited the church twice recently, before he announced his campaign for governor in January. This was his third visit, and the first time he spoke to the congregation.
The California general election will be held on November 4.