Capitol Alert

Neel Kashkari depicts himself saving drowning child in ad

In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, Neel Kashkari, the Republican candidate for governor, talks to students during his visit to an eighth grade class at the Westside Preparatory Charter School-Eastside Campus in Sacramento, Calif.
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, Neel Kashkari, the Republican candidate for governor, talks to students during his visit to an eighth grade class at the Westside Preparatory Charter School-Eastside Campus in Sacramento, Calif. AP

Neel Kashkari, California’s Republican candidate for governor, has released a TV ad depicting him saving a drowning child and claiming Gov. Jerry Brown “betrayed our kids to protect his donors.”

The ad, which the campaign said will start airing Tuesday, is a continuation of Kashkari’s criticism of Brown’s decision in August to appeal a closely watched court ruling that found California’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional.

The ad, the first TV spot of Kashkari’s general election campaign, is unlikely to gain wide distribution. Kashkari, who is far behind Brown in public opinion polls, reported last week that he had less than $700,000 on hand for the final month of the campaign – an insufficient sum for a significant network ad buy.

Over video of a young boy flailing in a pool, text of the ad states: “When kids in failing schools begged Jerry Brown for rescue … he betrayed them.”

The 30-second ad then shows Kashkari reaching into the water and pulling the boy to safety. He sits behind Kashkari as the candidate tells the camera that Brown “betrayed our kids to protect his donors” and that, “When I’m governor, I’ll fight for kids, not against them.”

Kashkari has previously accused Brown of appealing the ruling in Vergara v. California because of his ties to the California Teachers Association, a major donor. Brown has said he appealed for a procedural reason, with lawyers for the state arguing “changes of this magnitude, as a matter of law and policy, require appellate review.”

Brown’s campaign spokesman, Dan Newman, could not be reached for comment, but said on Twitter: “Some early reactions I’ve heard to Kashkari’s ‘drowning child’ ad: insensitive, offensive, sad, desperate, exploitive, sick….”

In another tweet, Newman said: “Delusions of grandeur = when a candidate calls self “transformational” and stages ad of him saving a drowning child.”

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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