The governor’s race in California just got very interesting with an unexpected turn of events. Governor Jerry Brown was a sho0-in for the primary elections in California. The question on many people’s mind in the Golden State was this – who will be his opponent come November? Which Republican candidate will be running against Governor Brown? And the people in California have spoken. Come November it is going to be a race between incumbent Jerry Brown (D) vs. Neel Kashkari (R.). Governor Brown sailed through the primary elections, while Kashkari came a distant second after narrowly beating his Republican opponent Tim Donnelly, a Tea Party member.
Dubbed as a low-key elections, the interesting twist came from the Republican party when Kashkari defeated Donnelly. Both candidates were duking it out in the state and fighting for name recognition among the voters, which predominately tends to vote Democratic. The state however had had its fair share of Republican Governors right from Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarznegger. But in this year’s governor’s elections Kashkari and Donnelly represented different strands of the Republican Party and as George Skelton of The Los Angeles Times put it the two candidates offer two party for California Republicans.
Kashkari, a former US Treasury official is pegged as a moderate Republican who supports abortion and gay rights and voted for President Obama in 2008 elections. He also put in quite a bit of his own money to fund his election campaign. An Indian-American, who grew up in the mid-west, Kashkari’s political campaign was simply this: education and jobs.
Donnelly, on the other hand, belongs to the conservative element of the Republican Party, whose was “Patriot not Politician.” He is pro gun and anti-immigration. In a Facebook post in March he linked Kashkari, a Hindu, to fundamentalist Islamic law. Donnelly was criticized by many in the Republican Party. Darrell Issa (R) who said that there was “no place” in the party for Donnelly.
Prior to the primary elections, various poll surveys had pegged the two Republican candidates locked in a tight battle with Kashkari enjoying a wafer thin majority. Kashkari had the backing of Mitt Romney and other Republican heavy weights, while Donnelly had quite a bit of grassroots supporters and not many Republican heavy weights supporting him.
The challenge for Kashkari now is to wage his campaign against a strong incumbent with a deep war chest and name recognition. Kashkari has a long and hard uphill battle if he wants to become the next Governor of California.