Donnelly slams GOP elite rallying around rival Kashkari

"I'm a threat to the country club Republicans," GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly says, as the party's establishment rallies around rival Neel Kashkari.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly on Wednesday lashed out at the GOP elite that is rallying around rival Neel Kashkari, saying they are scared of his own candidacy.

“I’m a threat to the country club Republicans,” Donnelly, an assemblyman from San Bernardino County, told the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board. “I’m a danger -- because I might bring a little more country into the club.”

Donnelly is the front-runner among GOP candidates to win a spot on the fall ballot to take on Gov. Jerry Brown in the fall. He is running an insurgent campaign on a shoestring budget that is focused on turning out the most passionate GOP voters in the June 3 primary election.


But a string of controversies -- including inflammatory rhetoric about illegal immigration and an attempt to link Kashkari, a practicing Hindu, to fundamentalist Islamic law -- has prompted GOP officials and groups to denounce his bid. They include Rep. Darrell Issa, New Majority and the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

On Wednesday, the Lincoln Club, a moneyed, business-centric GOP group, published a scathing editorial in the Orange County Register that said of Donnelly: “Not Fit to Lead the GOP.”

Kashkari has also received all of the big-name Republican endorsements made in the race, including from 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former California Gov. Pete Wilson, Issa and -- on Wednesday -- former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Donnelly argued that such Republicans have “lost touch with people in the neighborhoods” because “they’re too busy golfing or drinking together,” according to the Chronicle.

“Yeah, I have 370,000 miles on my vehicle and I have only one suit - people have figured it out,” Donnelly said. “… The Republicans are scared of their own shadow.... They won’t let people with blue jeans into the country club.”