Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, who is lagging behind incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown by double digits, has taken a rather significant risk in his latest television ad, which portrays a child drowning in a swimming pool. Kashkari enters to rescue the child, whose plight is meant to be a metaphor for children stuck in California’s failing public schools. As the child recovers, head bowed, Kashkari touts his education policy.
The ad is what strategists call a “Hail Mary,” a late move designed to maximize attention at the risk of alienating some voters. Another recent example was Democrat Wendy Davis’s ad in the Texas gubernatorial race, which depicted her disabled opponent as an empty wheelchair. Like Kashkari, Davis is behind in the polls and hoping for a last-minute comeback.
“If if does backfire and Davis wants to run for office in the future, you can rest assured this one will stick with her,” wrote Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, calling her ad “one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see.”
The same may hold true for Kashkari, who is thought to be aiming for the 2016 Senate race or a future Cabinet-level appointment.
Ironically, Kashkari was touted during the primary as the more genteel GOP alternative, and had warned that his opponent, Tim Donnelly, would embarrass his party as Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) had in 2012.
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