California Republican Voters Tack Far Right in Governor's Race

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A new Field Poll (pdf) unsurprisingly has Governor Jerry Brown way ahead of his potential Republican opponents, garnering a 57% approval rate from all likely voters in the run-up to the November 4 election.

Right-wing Assemblyman Tim Donnelly is way behind at 17%, but the biggest surprise was that the more mainstream conservative Republican candidate, Neel Kashkari, registered a miniscule 2%. That's smaller than the margin of error, so it's mathematically conceivable he has zero support. Kashkari didn't fare much better when just likely-Republican voters are considered; he rang up a whopping 3% among them.

Kashkari is an investment banker who held a high position at Goldman Sachs and worked on the federal bailout of AIG and banks as a U.S Treasury Department official during the economic meltdown six years ago. He is a moderate on social issues.  A third GOP candidate, businessman and Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount, who may have even less name recognition than the widely unknown Kashkari, edged him by 1 point among all likely voters.

None of the Republicans have much money for their campaigns. Kashkari has around $903,000 in the till and Blount $8,100, compared to Brown's $19.7 million war chest. Kashkari said his poll numbers are certain to rise once he begins advertising. For now, he is settling for free publicity like the video he released that showcases his two dogs.

Winslow and Newsome each weight around 130 pounds and, according to his video, love to lick the faces of little children whether their parents are terrified or not. Kashkari related how one parent, in particular, was not amused. “Her mother was horrified, horrified, that her daughter had dog slobber all the way up her face. I said, ‘Hey, you let your daughter run up to my dog, and my dog kissed your daughter. You can’t get mad at my dog for that.’ ”

But, of course, she can. Hopefully, for him, she wasn't one of the 2% of voters anxious to mark their ballot for him.

Blount, whose campaign debt of $22,000 exceeds its assets, hasn't cut a dog video or one featuring a Latina actress translating Donnelly's words into Spanish and bragging about his large testicles. But the software developer and self-proclaimed Libertarian says his mobile political app, Skado, will target individual voters using profiles of them gleaned from social media and other sources.   

“Candidates can say goodbye to mass marketing with its inherent waste and inefficiency,” the website says, which is perfect for someone like him who has no money for mass marketing. Skado “will revolutionize the way campaigns are run by allowing candidates to reach out to individual people, through their friends, to deliver personalized, targeted, relevant messages to the people that matter most, the voters,” which may be an incentive for Republican Facebook users to keep their “friends” list up to date.

California is the bluest of blue states if you measure that by how many Republicans hold statewide offices. Currently there are none. Tea Party hopefuls in other states can utilize gerrymandered districts, a love for guns, opposition to immigration, voter suppression and a hatred for President Barack Obama to compete in elections. None of that exists in California.

But right now, Donnelly, a Minuteman border patrol leader who got caught with an unregistered gun at the airport and once proclaimed “It's a great day to be a vigilante,” is the runaway GOP choice to lead the state.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Field Poll: GOP's Hope in California Governor's Race Leaning Far to the Right (by Jessica Calefati, San Jose Mercury News)

Lagging in Polls, Neel Kashkari Says Paid Advertising Will Push Him Ahead (by David Siders, Sacramento Bee)

Poll: Voters Favor Brown as His Popularity Climbs (by Juliet Williams, Associated Press)

Tea Party Fav Donnelly Steps up as Maldonado Bails out of Governor’s Race (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

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