LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The race for California Governor 2014 is officially underway.
Neel Kashkari, a Laguna Beach millionaire and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, just announced he’s entering the race.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige found the Republican newcomer is already on the campaign trail.
Kashkari is no stranger to the political arena. He worked as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in both the Bush and Obama administrations.
But the office of California Governor is his first stab at elected office.
“I’m running on two issues — I want to create good jobs for California families and I want every California kid to get a good education,” Kashkari said
Neel Tushar Kashkari, who is 41 in July, was born in Akron, Ohio.
He is described as a moderate Republican who supports both a woman’s right to choose and same-sex marriage. He is a divorced, practicing Hindu. In past interviews, he’s said he started praying when he was tapped to head the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008-09.
“Keep the government out of our homes, out of our hospitals, out of our bedrooms,” he says.
Kashkari will face San Bernardino State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a conservative who is backed by the Tea Party.
Claremont McKenna College Professor of Politics Jack Pitney says Republican voters will have a clear choice to make between the two men in June.
“It’s a choice between a straight down the line conservative, and a moderate who has probably a better chance of being competitive in the general election,” says Pitney.
Both men would face a considerable challenge from the incumbent, Governor Jerry Brown. He hasn’t yet declared whether or not he intends to run for a second term, but Pitney doesn’t think there is any question Brown will ask voters to re-elect him.
“It would be a huge shock if Jerry Brown decides not to run. The state of the state message sounded like somebody running for re-election. It sounded like somebody looking to the future, not a valedictory,” says Pitney, “but if there’s one consistency to Jerry Brown’s career, it’s the capacity to surprise.”
For Kashkari supporters, it would be a pleasant surprise if Brown decides to bow out but in the meantime, Kashkari is more focused on his own primary five months away.