“Jobs and Education. That’s It.” But that’s not it for Neel Kashkari’s campaign plans going into the November general election. Kashkari has been repeatedly referring to the success of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s campaign as a winning indicator for Kashkari’s Gubernatorial bid.
At Monday night’s monthly meeting of San Diego County Republicans, Kashkari recalled his path running for Governor of California thus far and his plan to make up the massive spread between current Governor Jerry Brown and himself in November’s general election.
He reminisced about a trip to Dallas in December 2012 to visit former President George W. Bush. Kashkari served in the Bush administration as a Treasury official and has faced controversy over his involvement in distributing TARP bailout funds. Kashkari said of the visit that Bush was supportive of his desire to run for governor. The GOP establishment followed suit, as Kashkari’s campaign progressed with endorsements from Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Condoleeza Rice. This is despite Kashkari’s vote for Obama in 2008.
Fellow Republican Kevin Faulconer became the new mayor of San Diego earlier this year in a special election to replace Bob Filner. Kashkari has cited, in many appearances, Faulconer’s win as an indicator that he can succeed in November. Kashkari and Faulconer share a centrist Republican stance; however, Faulconer’s opponent was not the incumbent and was much less well-known. Faulconer also won in a special election with low voter turnout.
Kashkari went on to speak of his plan to grow and rebuild the party and partner with all Republican candidates in the state. He told the Union Tribune he wants to lead all candidates with his message, and that he expects the cost for his campaign “to be in the tens of millions.”
Another component of Kashkari’s plan, as he stated again Monday, is to push for ten debates with Governor Brown like those Brown called for in his fight against former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. He stated, “I am going to make Jerry Brown answer.”
The Kashkari-Donnelly showdown had been referred to as a push by the establishment to keep out grassroots or Tea Party candidates more than a push to win the general election. RealClearPolitics reported, “Kashkari believes that the outcome of the June 3 primary will have serious implications not just for his state but also for Republicans throughout the country.”
Primary election results, with over 230,000 votes left to count as of Wednesday, show Jerry Brown at 54.5% and Kashkari at 19.4%. Green Party, Peace and Freedom, and the one other Democrat candidate total 3.5%. If all votes for Republican candidates are combined, the total is 39.9%. Finally, votes for No Party Preference candidates so far total 2.1%. If Kashkari is going to win, he has a large margin to make up in votes.
A barrage of pricey TV and mail ads boosted voter awareness of Kashkari in the final days before the primary. Over $3.2 million was spent in the election toward Kashkari’s campaign, including over $172,000 spent to oppose Republican candidate Tim Donnelly. Conversely, Jerry Brown’s campaign reports spending just over $230,000 with an ending cash balance on last report of $20.7 million. Kashkari’s most recent report lists $1.4 million cash on hand.