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Kashkari raises almost $1 million for governor's race

ElectionsPoliticsBusinessFinanceJerry BrownConservation

SACRAMENTO -- Republican candidate for governor Neel Kashkari has raised more than $900,000 in the last two weeks, according to a new report filed by his campaign on Wednesday.

The candidate's former boss at the U.S. Treasury Department, Henry Paulson, and Paulson's wife each contributed $27,200, the maximum individual donation allowed in a gubernatorial primary in California.

Kashkari also raised some money closer to home -- from his parents, Chaman and Sheila Kashkari, who also gave the maximum.

The report provided a glimpse of Kashkari’s ability to tap his contacts in the financial world, made during his stints at Goldman Sachs and Pacific Investment Management Co., known as Pimco. Donations of $27,200 came from Charles Johnson, retired chairman of Franklin Resources; Narendra Gupta, co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners; and Robert Day, founder of the Trust Company of the West.

Kashkari's fund-raising has quickly outpaced fellow Republican candidate Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), who pulled in $374,000 last year, according to a recent report by his campaign. He had $54,000 in the bank at the end of December.

Kashkari's recent haul still leaves him far short of being financially competitive with Gov. Jerry Brown, who reported a war chest of $17 million.

“There’s no doubt that Neel faces a significant financial disadvantage against Governor Brown, who has already raised millions from special interests that benefit from the status quo," Pat Melton, Kashkari's campaign manager, said in a statement. 

Brown has been able to count on the financial support of unions, Hollywood figures, major business groups and other deep-pocketed Democrats.

Still, Melton said, the Republican's "robust fundraising in these first two weeks underscores Neel's strength as a candidate, and it will help ensure that we have the resources necessary to share with voters his vision for turning California around.”

Dan Newman, Brown's political spokesman, said the governor has attracted big donations because of his success in dealing with the state's budget deficit.

“A lot of people support the governor’s leadership, and it’s understandable," he said.

Newman also criticized Kashkari’s former role at the U.S. Treasury, where he oversaw the bank bailout.

“It’s unsurprising that, after giving away hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street, he would be able to scoop up some money," Newman said.

Kashkari has described the bailout as a bipartisan effort to avoid a more serious economic catastrophe.

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Twitter: @chrismegerian

chris.megerian@latimes.com

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