Capitol Alert

Neel Kashkari rules out U.S. Senate run in 2016

Then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari speaks at a July 2014 press conference. Kashkari has ruled out running for U.S. Senate in 2016.
Then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari speaks at a July 2014 press conference. Kashkari has ruled out running for U.S. Senate in 2016. bnguyen@sacbee.com

Neel Kashkari has ruled out running next year for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Democrat Barbara Boxer.

“He’s focused on returning to the private sector,” former strategist Aaron McLear said Saturday.

Kashkari becomes the latest high-profile Republican to pass on seeeking the soon-to-be-open Senate seat, only five years after national Republicans and others went all-out to block Boxer’s bid a fourth term in 2010.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer, 2010 Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and others are among the Republicans who have declared they will pass on next year’s Senate campaign. Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat, is the only declared candidate so far for the seat.

In last fall’s governor’s race, Gov. Jerry Brown defeated Kashkari by 20 percentage points. Kashkari also had a tough campaign earlier in the year to beat back his more conservative primary rival, then-Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.

All told, Kashari spent about $3.1 million of his own money on the campaign. At a recent UC Berkeley forum on the election, McLear drew laughs when he said Kashkari’s job search is “because he doesn’t have any money left.”

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 12:40 p.m. Saturday to include comment from McLear.

Call Jim Miller, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5521. Follow him on Twitter @jimmiller2.

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