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Neel Kashkari named CEO of Minneapolis Fed

Neel Kashkari, the Republican who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, won’t be running for public office in California again any time soon – he’s trading the warm sun of Laguna Beach for the cold snows of Minneapolis to become president and CEO of that city’s Federal Reserve Bank, effective Jan. 1.

NEEL KASHKARIKashkari, 42, will replace Narayana Kocherlakota, who has served in the post since 2009 and announced last December that he wouldn’t seek reappointment at the end of his term, according to the Minneapolis Fed’s news release.

Kashkari will be part of the Federal Open Market Committee that helps formulate U.S. monetary policy, and will oversee 1,100 employees in Minneapolis and in Helena, Mont., who do economic research, supervise financial institutions and provide payments services to commercial banks and the U.S. government.

Kashkari said in the release that he’s “truly honored” to get the job. “I look forward to working with the Bank’s dedicated staff and continuing the Bank’s long-standing tradition of excellent service to the Ninth Federal Reserve District and to the nation. The Minneapolis Fed has built a strong reputation for economic research and thought leadership as well as excellence in Bank operations. I am delighted that I will be working with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis team to build on the Bank’s many achievements.”

Kashkari beat a more conservative Republican, then-Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, by about five percentage points to finish second behind Brown in June 2014’s top-two gubernatorial primary. He lost to Brown by 20 percentage points in November’s general election.

Before running against Brown, Kashkari had been a managing director and head of global equities at PIMCO from 2009 to 2013; before that, he served in the Treasury Department from 2006 to 2009, culminating with his oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out reeling Wall Street firms under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“Mr. Kashkari is an influential leader whose combined experience in the public and private sectors makes him the ideal candidate to head the Minneapolis Fed,” said MayKao Hang, incoming chair of the Minneapolis Fed’s board of directors and co-chair of the search committee. “We were fortunate to have outstanding candidates during our national search. Mr. Kashkari stood out because of his inspiring leadership skills, solutions-oriented nature, collaborative style and deep commitment to public service,” she added.

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Under: 2014 general, 2014 primary, Neel Kashkari | 1 Comment »

Neel Kashkari endorses Rocky Chávez for Senate

2014 Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has endorsed Assemblyman Rocky Chávez for California’s U.S. Senate seat in 2016.

NEEL KASHKARIChávez, R-Oceanside, “is the right candidate for California,” Kashkari said in a news release. “His story reflects that of so many Californians who want to preserve the American Dream for their families, but are in need of a better education system for their kids and who seek elected leaders who will balance the budget.”

“We need experienced and tested leaders in Washington who are prepared to tackle challenges at home and abroad,” Kashkari added. “As a Marine Colonel and a California Assembly Member, Col. Chávez has the experience to effectively represent California in the United States Senate.”

Chávez thanked Kashkari for his “incredible support. He understands what it takes to meet challenges head-on, and we continue to need voices like his in California.”

Kashkari, of Laguna Beach, got 40 percent of the vote in November’s general gubernatorial election, defeated by incumbent Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown. A moderate on some issues, he had struggled all last year to shore up his standing with the GOP’s conservative wing – a struggle the relatively moderate Chávez might face as well.

Former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette opened an exploratory committee for the 2016 Senate race in late February, and is expected to announce his candidacy soon. Another former state GOP chairman, Duf Sundheim of Los Altos Hills, also is considering a run for the seat. Two little-known Republicans, John Estrada of Fresno and Mark Hardie of Whittier, have declared their candidacies, though Hardie has yet to form a campaign committee.

The only Democrat in the race so far is California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who raised $2.5 million in the year’s first quarter and has been steadily rolling out endorsements in recent months. But a few other Democrats are mulling the race as well – most notably Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, who sounded like she was testing out her campaign oratory Monday in Orange County, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Under: Neel Kashkari, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Kashkari and Whitman sign same-sex marriage brief

Former California gubernatorial candidates Neel Kashkari and Meg Whitman are among more than 300 Republicans and conservatives who signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Project Right Side and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman formally filed the amicus brief Thursday evening involving four cases to be heard on April 28 concerning government recognition of the freedom to marry.

The signers “want to convey to the court that they support traditional conservative values, including the belief in the importance of stable families, as well as the commitment to limited government and the protection of individual freedom,” a news release said. “Furthermore they believe that those conservative values are consistent with affording civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held marriage to be a fundamental right.”

Mehlman said the brief “adds an important and different voice in the struggle for marriage equality both before the Court and also to millions of Americans at a ‘teaching moment.’ It is another reflection of the growing national support for freedom and liberty for gay and lesbian Americans – support that clearly crosses partisan and ideological lines.”

In 2013, Mehlman submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry – the case that resulted in California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage being overturned – with 131 Republican signers.

Other signers of this new brief include former California House members Mary Bono and Michael Huffington; the consultants who have run California’s past three Republican gubernatorial campaigns – Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, and Aaron McLear; Josh Ginsberg, former political director for Arnold Schwarzenegger; Tucker Bounds, former communications director for Whitman; and Andrea Saul, former communications director for 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina.

Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015
Under: Meg Whitman, Neel Kashkari, Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | 3 Comments »

Some of my favorite stories of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, I’ve been ruminating on my favorite political moments of this year – not the most important or impactful ones, perhaps, but the ones that either made me shake my head in amazement, or guffaw out loud, or both.

And so, in no particular order:

Homeless NeelNeel Kashkari takes it to the streets: Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, distrusted by the more conservative elements of his own party, managed to beat out a more right-wing rival to finish second behind Gov. Jerry Brown in June’s top-two primary. In July, he made an inspired attempt to rekindle his unusual momentum (for when was the last time you saw a statewide GOP candidate running on so ardent an anti-poverty platform?) by spending a week “undercover” pretending to be jobless and homeless on Fresno’s streets. I said it then and I still believe it: “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.”

Neel's drowning kidNeel Kashkari drowns himself in hyperbole: Aaaaand then we had the rest of Kashkari’s campaign. Unable to maintain the buzz that his “homeless” stint created, polls shows his campaign on the slide as contributions dried up. In October, he aired a television ad depicting his rescue of a child that Brown had left to “drown” in poor schools. Candidates want people talking about their ads, but if the viewers’ main sentiment is, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?,” you’re probably doing it wrong.

ManoramaManorama K. Joshi (or Manorama J. Kumar): The 17th Congressional District battle between Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, and Democratic challenger Ro Khanna, had a lot of weird moments, but few that rivaled the revelation that Khanna donors and supporters had been instrumental in getting Republican Joel Vanlandingham onto the ballot. It seemed the idea was to dilute the GOP vote that would’ve gone to Republican Vanila Singh, as a means of ensuring Khanna would finish second behind Honda in June’s top-two primary. “No, I don’t want to talk to anybody, thank you,” Joshi replied when I buzzed her Newark apartment. Yeah, I’ll just bet you don’t.

Leland Yee (photo by Karl Mondon)“Uncle” Leland Yee gets pinched: When an editor called me early one morning in late March to tell me state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, had been arrested, I could never have anticipated the circumstances. Payoffs and gun trafficking and a Dragon Head named Shrimp Boy… oh, my! The affidavits accompanying the original criminal complaint and the superseding indictment filed in July made for 2014’s most compelling political reading, hands down. And yet Yee finished third in a field of eight candidates for Secretary of State in June’s top-two primary. Seriously, California?

DRAPER map 022514Six Californias comes apart at the seams: Honestly, it took me a while to figure out whether renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper was serious about his plan to split California into six states, or if he was doing some sort of Andy Kaufmanesque political performance art demonstrating the absurdities enabled by our ballot initiative system. As it turned out, Draper was for real, and so was the $5.2 million he sank into gathering signatures to put his measure on 2016’s ballot. But not enough of the signatures were real, so he blew it, depriving all of us of two years worth of joke-making.

Posted on Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Under: Leland Yee, Mike Honda, Neel Kashkari | No Comments »

Kashkari’s 20-point defeat margin is slipping away

Republican former gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is holding onto his margin of defeat by his fingernails.

NEEL KASHKARIIf 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.

So much for moral victories.

Posted on Friday, November 28th, 2014
Under: 2014 general, Neel Kashkari | 1 Comment »

Fun with numbers: Statewide candidates

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

Neel Kashkari (R)
1.) Modoc – 72.6 percent
2.) Lassen – 67.2 percent
3.) Glenn – 65.9 percent
4.) Tehama – 64.6 percent
5.) Madera – 62.6 percent

Secretary of State-elect Alex Padilla (D)
1.) San Francisco – 77.7 percent
2.) Alameda – 72.9 percent
3.) Santa Cruz – 69.5 percent
4.) Marin – 68.9 percent
5.) Sonoma – 66.1 percent

Pete Peterson (R)
1.) Modoc – 74 percent
2.) Glenn – 73.1 percent
3.) Lassen – 72.7 percent
4.) Tehama 70.2 percent
5.) Sutter – 66.7 percent

Controller-elect Betty Yee (D)
1.) San Francisco – 80.6 percent
2.) Alameda – 75.1 percent
3.) Santa Cruz – 71.4 percent
4.) Marin – 70.6 percent
5.) Sonoma – 68.2 percent

Ashley Swearengin (R)
1.) Modoc – 71.4 percent
2.) (tie) Lassen and Glenn – 71.1 percent
3.) Tulare – 67.7 percent
4.) Tehama – 67.3 percent
5.) Madera – 66.4 percent

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Under: 2014 general, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Neel Kashkari, Secretary of State | No Comments »

Kashkari pays for 60-second ad during World Series

For Neel Kashkari, the new mantra might be “Go big AND go home.”

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.

Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Under: 2014 general, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Neel Kashkari | 1 Comment »

Neel Kashkari’s new TV ad depicts drowning child

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari‘s new television ad uses imagery of a drowning child to highlight what he says is Gov. Jerry Brown’s “betrayal” of California public school students:

Kashkari’s campaign says the ad will start airing statewide on Tuesday.

Posted on Monday, October 13th, 2014
Under: 2014 general, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Neel Kashkari | 1 Comment »

Neel Kashkari’s campaign ad contest finalists

Remember how Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari offered a $25,000 scholarship to the California college student who could create the best campaign ad for him? Here are the four finalists. Which do you like best, and why?

#1: “Neel Kashkari for Governor”

#2: “More Jobs, More Opportunity”

#3: “We Need Action”

#4: “A Governor Should”

UPDATE @ 1:35 P.M.: The Kashkari campaign announced the contest’s result today. And the winners are:

  • 1st Place ($25,000) – Samuel Estigoy and Salvatore Angrisani from the University of California, Irvine and UC-Merced, respectively, for “More Jobs, More Opportunity” (#2 above)
  • 2nd Place ($10,000) – Zachary Ferguson from UC-Irvine for “Neel Kashkari for Governor” (#1 above)
  • 3rd Place ($5,000) – Elena Dick and Christopher Sullivan from UCLA for “We Need Action” (#3 above)
  • Posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
    Under: 2014 general, Neel Kashkari | No Comments »

    New poll: Brown leads Kashkari by 25 points

    A new poll finds Gov. Jerry Brown leading Republican challenger Neel Kashkari by a much wider gap than previously reported.

    The latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll found that if the election were held today, Brown would beat Kashkari 57 percent to 32 percent – a significantly larger lead than the 16 points that the Field Poll reported last week.

    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.

    Posted on Friday, September 12th, 2014
    Under: 2014 general, ballot measures, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Neel Kashkari, water | 1 Comment »