Neel Kashkari entered race against Gov. Jerry Brown nearly broke

@neelkashkari campaign nearly broke after he spent week homeless to highlight poverty

On the day Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari announced he had lived as a homeless man for a week to highlight poverty, his financial filings with the state show that his campaign is effectively broke.

The candidate entered the month of July with $197,937 in the bank and with debts of $164,319, according to the campaign finance reports, which were due Thursday. He spent nearly $4.4 million this year, the vast majority before the June 3 primary, in which he placed second, allowing him to take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in the fall.

Between May 18 and June 30, the filing period covered by the report, Kashkari raised $397,513 and spent nearly $1.7 million.

In contrast, Brown spent $37,461 and raised nearly $1.7 million during this period, according to a report the governor filed with the secretary of state. He has a campaign war chest of more than $22 million and has no debt.

Kashkari, who donated more than $2 million to his own campaign, faces a steep uphill battle against Brown, lagging by about 20 points in most polls conducted since the primary.

He is trying to get attention in unconventional ways. On Thursday, he announced that he had spent a week sleeping on the streets of Fresno and trying to find a job, in an effort to illustrate that the “California comeback” Brown has touted is not a reality for many Californians.

Brown “doesn’t want to talk about any of these issues -- he doesn’t want to debate, he doesn’t want to talk about poverty, about education, about the drought,” Kashkari said in an interview on Thursday. “… I’m using every tactic, every creative strategy I can come up with to force us in this state to have conversations about these issues, and to drag him out of the cocoon that his daddy built for him. I’m going to keep doing things like this and he’s going to hide and duck and I’m not going to let him get away with it.”

A political spokesman for Brown said the numbers in Kashkari's financial report showed why the candidate was seeking to shift attention elsewhere.

"Explains the bizarre attempt at misdirection," said spokesman Dan Newman.

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