Capitol Alert

Neel Kashkari far behind, feeling ‘really good’ about race

Neel Kashkari speaks with supporters in Stockton on Wednesday. Kashkari donated another $1 million to his long-shot campaign on Friday.
Neel Kashkari speaks with supporters in Stockton on Wednesday. Kashkari donated another $1 million to his long-shot campaign on Friday. David Siders

Neel Kashkari, far behind in fundraising and public opinion polls less than two weeks before Election Day, said Wednesday that he still can make California’s race for governor “interesting” if enough of his supporters turn out.

Kashkari, who donated another $1 million to his campaign Friday, declined to say if he will pour more money into the race, telling reporters he is “not ruling anything in or out.”

Kaskhari’s self-financing – the latest contribution was on top of about $2 million the Republican spent before the June primary election – is insufficient for a traditional campaign but has allowed Kashkari to run limited advertising against Gov. Jerry Brown.

Speaking to about 20 supporters at a hotel in downtown Stockton, Kashkari said polls will continue to show him “a little bit behind” but that, “I feel really good about where we are.” Kashkari is running behind Brown by 16 percentage points, 52 percent to 36 percent, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.

“Hopefully those of you who have gotten to know me know that I am a fighter, and I am going to fight hard,” Kashkari said. “You know, you’re in the Super Bowl and you’re down in the fourth quarter, you don’t pull your starters. You blitz the quarterback. And I am blitzing the quarterback, and we are aggressively attacking his defense. And if we get our voters to turn out, we can absolutely make this thing interesting and make this competitive.”

With a massive lead, Brown has largely ignored Kashkari, spending millions of dollars on advertising in which he does not mention his own candidacy for re-election. Instead, Brown is promoting Propositions 1 and 2, the $7.5 billion water bond and budget reserve measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Kashkari supports the measures but said, “If Jerry Brown thinks anybody’s going to turn out for Prop. 1 and Prop. 2, he’s kidding himself.”

“Nobody cares about 1 and 2,” Kashkari said. “I mean, 1 and 2 are better than nothing. But I have not met a single voter in all of my campaigning who says, ‘Boy, I am so excited to get out there and vote for Prop. 1 and Prop. 2.’”

Taking questions from his supporters, Kashkari was asked by Tony Amador, himself a long-shot candidate for Congress, if he ever felt like David in the biblical account of David and Goliath.

Kashkari said he does.

“You’re right,” he said. “It absolutely is David and Goliath, but I’m fired up by that.”

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

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