Capitol Alert

Republican drops out of race for California governor

Republican Doug Ose dropped out of the race for California governor Monday, citing a crowded field of candidates and lack of fundraising needed to defeat Democrats, who are leading in the polls.

“There’s no money, and if you don’t have enough money, you can’t communicate a message,” Ose said in an interview.

Ose said he made the decision after realizing traditional Republican donors would not support him.

“There’s nobody willing to invest in a statewide Republican campaign to the level that needs to be done,” he said. “The people that have traditionally written $25,000 checks are now writing $1,000 checks because they don’t see a path for a Republican to win.”

Ose, a Sacramento businessman and former member of the House, predicted other Republican rivals, Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen and businessman John Cox, would face the same challenge.

“I have no doubt that they’re facing the same problem,” Ose said. “There’s no money and there’s nobody willing to invest in a statewide Republican campaign.”

Cox issued a statement praising Ose, and suggesting the move would make it more possible for a Republican to reach the November runoff under the state’s top-two primary system.

“Now California Republicans have the opportunity to unite behind one candidate with the commitment and ability to (go) the distance,” Cox said. “I pledge to do what it takes to make sure that voters are offered a real choice in November.”

Democrats are leading in the polls. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is considered the front-runner in the race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown. Neither he nor his Democratic challengers — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang or former state schools chief Delaine Eastin — earned the Democratic Party’s endorsement at their convention in San Diego this past weekend.

Ose, a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, got in the race in January, well after his rivals.

To launch a strong campaign, Ose said he’d need more resources to criticize Democrats and their positions on taxation, housing and the economy.

“If you had resources, you’d be able to communicate that,” Ose said. “Republicans are in the minority in this state.”

Ose declined to say whether he’d back another Republican in the campaign, but suggested that if it’s a Democrat-on-Democrat race, he’d vote for a moderate.

“Every time I go to the ballot box, I look at my choices,” Ose said. “As an example, in the absence of a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, I will be wholeheartedly supporting Dianne Feinstein.”

Feinstein did not earn her party’s endorsement at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego this past weekend, underscoring liberal pressures on the party.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee