John and Ken to host debate for GOP governor candidates

Republican gubernatorial candidates Neel Kashkari, left, and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press; Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
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A mostly unknown Republican gubernatorial candidate dropped out of the race Tuesday, but the two main GOP contenders will debate next month in a 90-minute event moderated by popular talk-radio hosts.

Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount cited health problems as he pulled out of the June 3 primary contest.

“Due to this, I’ve been unable to put together the campaign that California deserves,” he wrote on a Facebook message to supporters.


Best known for his elaborate annual Christmas light display, Blount was a long-shot candidate who had single-digit support in the polls. The Republican had eschewed donations, saying, “California is not for sale and neither is this election.”

Attempts to reach Blount on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, the front-runner after Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, and first-time candidate Neel Kashkari will meet at 5 p.m. May 15 at the Ayres Hotel in Anaheim, according to the radio station KFI-AM (640). John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, hosts of the “John and Ken” show, will moderate.

The duo said they had also invited Brown. A political spokesman for the governor said he had not seen a debate invitation.

Attempts to reach Donnelly were unsuccessful.

Kashkari has raised much more money than Donnelly and rolled out high-profile endorsements by Republican leaders, including a nod from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday, but he remains unknown to most voters.