NEWPORT BEACH, California — On Tuesday evening, less than one week after the GOP’s Neel Kashkari persevered in the first (and only) gubernatorial debate against Governor Jerry Brown, the candidate addressed an eager crowd of supporters at the Republican Party of California’s grand opening of its election headquarters in Newport Beach.
“Sacramento is in the poverty creation business,”Kashkari said to the crowd. “But the good news is that it’s a man-made issue and therefore it’s fixable… It’s within our capacity to turn this around,” he exclaimed.
Kashkari spoke with great sincerity and a laser focus to an energized crowd.
Those congregated exuded an air of newfound confidence in Kashkari. He assured his constituents of his commitment to education reform and jobs creation should he become governor–two important areas that cross over party lines and remain at the heart of several issues that have continuously plagued the Golden State.
“I felt very excited about what I heard tonight,” said Keith Dean, who works as a sales manager at Irvine-based commercial carpet manufacturing company Pacific Crest Mills. “I wasn’t as encouraged two months ago, but after the debate it looks like he’s [Kashkari] made some amazing headway. Jerry’s off his game right now–just sitting back and coasting–and Neel is taking advantage of that situation,” Dean said.
In an interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday evening, Kashkari said he was at first surprised that Brown had agreed to debate him: “He probably thought that because he has 40 years of debate experience and I have zero that he was going to beat me. He was surprised at how aggressive I was with him and he didn’t have any answers.”
Kashkari, who was the clear victor according to many observers of Thursday’s nearly hour-long debate, told Breitbart News that he is ready to debate Brown again. “Anytime he is ready…I’m happy to go back in the ring with him.”
Laguna Beach Tea Party member Jeanette Poe, who used to work on Wall Street, said that until recently she was one of many people who “never really paid attention” to what was happening around her politically. “But now I am very angry. We’ve got to send a message to make sure Kashkari wins,” she vehemently said.
Before the June primary, Kashkari was nearly written off the ballot by polling in at a mere 2% which left him trailing far behind Republican rival Tim Donnelly, who had been trending at 17%. After cinching the nomination in a top-two system, Kashkari remained far behind Brown who held more than a 20-point lead against him. However, just before the two men debated, that number had shrunk, leaving Brown with a mere 16-point lead.
Despite his success at the debate, Kashkari says the work has just begun: “We’ve now solidified the Republican support. And now we’re working on getting the independents and getting some moderate Democrats. So it’s a very important moment for us.”
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