This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
Republican gubernatorial candidates reacted to Gov. Jerry Brown’s reelection bid on Thursday by arguing that California has faltered during his time in office.
Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari of Laguna Beach cited unemployment, poverty and struggling students.
“In announcing his plan to run for a record fourth term, Gov. Brown again touted a status quo that is devastating for millions of families and communities all across the state,” Kashkari said in a statement.
“Californians can’t afford another four years of Gov. Brown’s failed leadership; it’s time for a new leader in Sacramento who will do the hard work of creating good jobs and giving every kid a quality education -- and that’s the reason I’m running for governor,” Kashkari said.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks called the coming campaign “a showdown between socialism and freedom.”
“I look forward to engaging the governor ASAP and making him answer for the fact that he's turned California into a state that's gone from ‘first’ to ‘worst’ in almost every category,” Donnelly said in a statement, “and a State where now crime pays and work doesn't.”
Asked for clarification of the lawmaker's remarks, a Donnelly spokeswoman said the candidate was speaking figuratively when he said the state went from first to last under Brown's tenure.
Kashkari and Donnelly face an uphill battle to unseat Brown, who filed paperwork Thursday formally declaring his intention to seek an unprecedented fourth term as governor.
In addition to the state’s blue tilt, Brown has an enormous financial advantage, having raised more than $17 million from a wide base of donors that includes labor and Hollywood.
In the first two weeks of Kashkari’s campaign, which officially began in January, the former U.S. Treasury official raised about $1 million, more than double what Donnelly raised in 2013.
For the record, 7:40 p.m. Feb. 27: A previous version of this post referred to former Treasury official Neel Kashkari as a former Treasury secretary.
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