LOS ANGELES – Ashley Swearengin, the Republican candidate for state controller, came to the California Republican Party’s fall convention Friday, delivered a dinner banquet speech and, on her way to catch a flight out, continued to leave open the possibility she will vote for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown – not Republican Neel Kashkari – in November.
Swearengin said in August that she was still “evaluating the candidates” for governor. The Fresno mayor supports California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project, which Kashkari mocks, and the week Kashkari spent posing as a homeless man in Fresno did nothing to help her promotion of her record as the city’s mayor.
Yet while Kashkari has heaped praise on Swearengin, she has remained reluctant to discuss his candidacy. She told reporters after addressing delegates here that her own campaign has “really been my focus, and hopefully I’ll have a chance to talk with Neel very soon.”
Swearengin refused to answer whether Kashkari asked for a meeting at the convention.
According to the Kashkari campaign, he did.
Asked if she was distancing herself from the Republican Party brand, more generally, Swearengin said she first registered to vote as a Republican when she was 18 but that she serves in a nonpartisan office.
“I’m used to working with people from across the political spectrum,” she said, “and that’s what I intend to do as the next state controller.”
She did not say how she might decide whether to vote for Kashkari in the election.
Said Swearengin: “I’m mostly concerned about making sure other people vote for me.”