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Kashkari says he needs tens of millions to compete with Brown

Neel Kashkari
Neel Kashkari,shown in 2008, says he is at a fundraising disadvantage as he tries to upset Gov. Jerry Brown.
(Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press)

GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, who struggled to raise money in his primary bid, said Friday he would need to raise at least $20 million to compete with Gov. Jerry Brown in the fall.

“It’s going to cost a lot. We’re going to have to raise tens of millions of dollars, would be my guess, to really compete with Jerry Brown,” Kashkari said on CNBC.

Brown, the Democratic incumbent, has raised $21 million in his bid for an unprecedented fourth term.

In the primary, Kashkari, a first-time candidate, initially said he hoped to raise as much as $10 million and did not plan to put any of his own wealth into his run. He ended up raising $2.1 million and putting $2 million of his money into his primary effort, funds that were spent on television ads and mailers that many credit for his victory Tuesday over Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) for a spot on the November ballot.

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Kashkari has aggressively courted GOP donors, meeting with 800 of them before announcing his gubernatorial bid in January. But he has had little success; they have largely stayed on the sidelines, and those who are contributing are largely giving to Brown, who is widely expected to win in November.

During a chatty introduction on Friday morning interview on the KABC-TV’s “The Bryan Suits Show,” Kashkari said that he was a “Star Trek” fan, when asked.

When the host asked if he was facing insurmountable odds in his attempt to beat Brown, Kashkari compared his task to one faced by Star Trek’s Capt. James T. Kirk — the Kobayashi Maru. In “Star Trek,” the Kobayashi Maru was a simulated exercise where cadets were put in an unwinnable battle. Capt. Kirk, of course, won.


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