Republican former gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is holding onto his margin of defeat by his fingernails.
If that doesn’t make sense, it’s because practically nobody ever expected Kashkari to beat Gov. Jerry Brown – but some political pundits had wondered whether he could even get within 20 percentage points of the popular Democratic incumbent.
The dynamic duo of Phil Trounstine and Jerry Roberts over at Calbuzz were keeping an eye on the 20-point margin, for example. And when I interviewed Jack Pitney – a former GOP operative who now teaches politics at Claremont McKenna College – in late October for my pre-post-mortem on Kashkari’s campaign, he had told me that given the lopsided race’s low expectations, “if he gets anywhere north of 40 percent, that’s a moral victory for him.”
Kashkari’s campaign on the day after the election proudly noted he was at 41.3 percent, meaning he had far outperformed the GOP’s voter registration (28.1 percent) and done better than 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman (40.9 percent).
But that failed to account for how pathetic it would be for a candidate to essentially get no votes beyond his own party, and for the fact that Whitman – who ran before the dawn of our top-two primary – faced Brown along with four other third-party candidates who together drew 5.3 percent of 2010’s vote. (Two were Libertarian and American Independent candidates, arguably to Whitman’s right, drawing 3.2 percent.)
Now that might be moot, because as the post-election canvass has proceeded, Kashkari’s share of the vote has dropped bit by bit.
As of Friday afternoon, he’s at 40.0 percent. And the Secretary of State’s office reports 30 of the state’s 58 counties – including San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma – are still processing vote-by-mail, provisional and other ballots during the 28-day post-election canvass period.
I thought it might be interesting to see in which counties some of our statewide candidates did best, per the unofficial results as they stand this morning.
The Democrats did best in the Bay Area – shocker! The Republicans most-concentrated support was found mostly in sparsely-populated far Northern California, including several counties – Modoc, Glenn and Tehama – that have signaled their desire to secede from the Golden State. In controller candidate Ashley Swearengin’s case, some southern Central Valley counties – Madera and Tulare – ranked high, too, perhaps due to her name recognition as nearby Fresno’s mayor.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D)
1.) San Francisco – 87.5 percent
2.) Alameda – 80.9 percent
3.) Marin – 78 percent
4.) Santa Cruz – 77.9 percent
5.) (tie) San Mateo and Sonoma – 74.2 percent
The Republican gubernatorial candidate, whom polls and pundits predict will lose to incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown by at least 15 to 20 points in next Tuesday’s election, has bought a 60-second ad during tonight’s World Series Game Six between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.
The ad is the same one Kashkari rolled out a week ago, continuing to berate Brown for choosing to appeal a court decision that gutted the state’s teacher tenure laws:
Sources close to Kashkari’s campaign say Tuesday night’s game, and the ad, are expected to do a “40 share” – which, translated from television ad parlance, means it will be seen by 2.5 million-plus Bay Area households. At upward of $150,000 for that one minute, it’s a huge investment especially given Kashkari’s lackluster fundraising – he’s had to sink $3.1 million of his own money into his campaign this year – but aims to build upon Kashkari’s drumbeat of criticism on the education issue.
His first ad on the matter – depicting a child drowning in a swimming pool (“betrayed” by Brown) until Kashkari rescues him – was meant to grab voters by the lapels and pay attention, and now this big ad buy is the follow-through, the campaign sources say.
Officials at KTVU, the Fox affiliate that’s airing the World Series in the Bay Area, didn’t return calls and emails Tuesday.
The USC/LAT poll found Brown has the support of 82 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of no-party-preference voters, and 18 percent of Republicans, while 72 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats support Kashkari.
The poll also found Brown’s job-approval rating at 57 percent, slightly higher than his 54 percent job approval rating in May and a double-digit increase from his 44 percent approval rating in April 2011, soon after he took office.
“Incumbents are defeated when the challenger gives the voters a compelling reason to make a change, and Kashkari simply hasn’t been able to attract enough attention to make that case to voters,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and executive director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.
“California is an uphill challenge for any Republican running statewide. California is an uphill challenge for any underfunded candidate running statewide,” he said. “But California is a very, very steep hill to climb for an underfunded Republican candidate running for statewide office.”
Much of Brown’s lead might have to do with name recognition. When Californians were asked if they knew the name of the current governor of California, 78 percent of voters correctly identified Brown, with 20 percent unsure. Only 20 percent of voters identified Kashkari as the Republican candidate for governor, with 79 percent unsure of the candidate’s name.
Californians are feeling better about the state’s future, though most still aren’t happy, the poll found – 37 percent now say the state is on the “right track” while 48 percent disagree, but that’s a vast improvement from November 2010, when only 15 percent felt it was on the right track and 77 percent said it was headed in the wrong direction.
The USC/LAT poll also found:
The Legislature has a 43 percent disapproval rating and 38 percent approval, showing a slight increase from May 2014 when voters reported a 40 percent disapproval rating and a 41 percent approval.
Proposition 1 — a $7.5 billion bond measure for water infrastructure projects — is backed by 66 percent of voters, a considerably higher level of support than the 52 percent figure reported by the Field Poll last week. But when provided with more information – including that the measure would increase state bond repayment costs but also providing savings to water projects for local governments – support dropped to 57 percent.
The number of voters who see California’s historic drought as a crisis is on the rise, up 11 percentage points from a May 2014 poll.
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll of 1,507 voters was conducted Sept. 2 through Sept. 8 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.
“The California Constitution guarantees that every child is entitled to an equal and quality education,” Kashkari said. “Apparently, Jerry Brown doesn’t agree that the civil rights of poor and minority children are worth fighting for.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris last week filed a brief on behalf of Brown and the state signaling they’ll appeal the recent Vergara v. California decision which struck down teacher tenure laws.
“It is clear where Jerry Brown’s priorities lie, and sadly, his priority is not the children of our state,” Kashkari said.
The one-hour debate starting at 7 p.m. Thursday is cosponsored by KQED, the Los Angeles Times, the California Channel and Telemundo California, and will be held in the California Channel’s studio with John Myers, KQED’s politics and government editor, as moderator.
KQED Public Television (Channel 9) and Telemundo stations in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno and Sacramento will televise it live and provide a simultaneous Spanish-language translation. The California Channel will also broadcast the debate live to more than 5 million homes across the state.
KQED Public Radio will broadcast the debate live on its stations in San Francisco (88.5 FM) and Sacramento (89.3 FM) and will distribute the debate live for broadcast to 30 public radio stations across California via its statewide news service, the California Report.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari announced his “coalition team chairs” Tuesday, and including some familiar Bay Area and California GOP names.
“I am honored by the depth and breadth of the support I’ve received from Californians across our great state,” Kashkari said in a news release. “I appreciate these men and women who have agreed to support my campaign and help spread our message about jobs and education.”
Charles Moran, a Los Angeles development and public affairs consultant who chairs the California Log Cabin Republicans, will chair the campaign’s California Coalitions team – a chair of chairs, as it were. And here’s the rest of the roster:
Indo-Americans for Kashkari – Dr. Vanila Singh of Fremont, a Stanford University professor and physician who was defeated in the 17th Congressional District’s primary election
Healthcare Professionals for Kashkari – Dr. Nikan Khatibi of Laguna Niguel, a physician, neuroscience researcher and medical journal article author
Latinos for Kashkari – Mario Rodriguez of San Clemente, CEO of Jonathan Grey & Associates and chairman of Hispanic 100
Farmers & Ranchers for Kashkari – Ryan Schohr of Chico, a farmer who was defeated in the 3rd Assembly District’s primary election
Veterans for Kashkari – Chuck McDougald of South San Francisco, chairman of the San Mateo County Republican Party
Asian-Americans for Kashkari – Mei Mei Huff of Diamond Bar, business consultant and wife of state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff
LGBT for Kashkari – co-chairs Susan Jester of San Diego, a community activist and founder of AIDS Walk San Diego; and Mark Snyder of Sacramento, a business owner
Young Professionals for Kashkari – Matthew Del Carlo of San Francisco, a public and corporate affairs consultant, past president of the San Francisco Young Republicans, and 2012 19th Assembly District candidate
Students for Kashkari – co-chairs Jere Ford of the University of San Diego, administrative vice-chair of the California College Republicans, and Ambika Bist of the Claremont Colleges
Women for Kashkari – Parmis Khatibi of Laguna Niguel, a clinical pharmacist specialist at UC-Irvine Medical Center, clinical adjunct professor at UCSF and USC pharmacy schools
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari on Monday implied that if you aren’t okay with his plan to essentially circumvent school boards’ oversight of funding and curriculum, you’re okay with California’s schools being among the nation’s worst.
Kashkari’s “my way or the same old highway” moment came during his meeting Monday with the Bay Area News Group’s editorial board. I sat in to ask a few questions and observe; as a reporter, I’ll not be involved in subsequent deliberations over an endorsement in this race.
The exchange led to one of the meeting’s best moments, just as we prepared to turn from this contentious point to another topic.
“At least I’m getting to debate someone,” Kashkari quipped with a wry smile.
Kashkari earlier Monday had issued a news release announcing he now has accepted five debate invitations – with the Sacramento Bee/Capitol Public Radio/KCRA; KGTV and KPBS in San Diego; Univision; KSEE and KGPE in Fresno; and KFBK in Sacramento – while Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet responded.
“Governor Jerry Brown is hiding under his desk,” Kashkari said in the news release. “Every voter in our state deserves to know exactly what Jerry Brown plans to do if he’s elected to an unprecedented fourth term.”
Dan Newman, a consultant to Brown’s campaign, replied later Monday that “we’ll respond with plenty of time – it’s early August and he’s got a demanding day job that is the top priority.”
You’ve gotta give him credit for cojones. Whether California voters believe the state is worse off under Brown’s stewardship remains to be seen, but this is not something you would’ve seen Meg Whitman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Simon, Dan Lungren or Pete Wilson do in a million years. Kashkari may be running his campaign on a shoestring, but he’s clearly all in.