Here’s how the race looks right now:
- There’s Assemblyman and tea party hero Tim Donnelly: “California needs somebody to stand up and fight – and somebody who believes that we can be the Golden State again,” he told the conservative website Politichicks.TV as he announced his exploratory campaign.
- There’s former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, who’s making Jerry Brown’s prison realignment program the lynchpin of his campaign. “The people of California are not safe today,” he told reporters in May as he announced a ballot initiative to overturn realignment. They are letting violent felons on the streets.”
- And there’s Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official who led the response to the stock market crash known as TARP. He’s not formally in the race but he’s been quietly laying the groundwork.
Yet there’s hardly any talk about the campaign. Former GOP consultant Marty Wilson says he’s never seen a governor’s race start so slowly. And the biggest reason, he says, is Jerry Brown.
“Brown has proven to be a very effective governor, and so trying to find the issues where you can draw contrast are going to be a challenge,” Wilson says.
Conservative blogger Jon Fleischman doesn’t think any of the three candidates could excite the party’s base and raise enough money to win. “Most credible people don’t believe that Abel Maldonado even has a shot to do that. Kashkari is unknown, and while Tim Donnelly is certainly an admired member of the legislature, there’s metrics that he would need to reach to demonstrate he would have the ability to take on Jerry Brown,” Fleischman says.
Voting by mail begins in less than 10 months.