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No, not this guy:
We actually mean Neel Kashkari, the GOP candidate challenging California Gov. Jerry Brown this November.
Kashkari stopped by Monday night’s monthly meeting of the San Diego County Republican Party to rally members around his bid. During his 10-minute speech, Times of San Diego reported, he slipped this in:
Kashkari, a 40-year-old former businessman and son of Indian immigrants, saluted the San Diegans for their sweeping success in the June 3 election.
“You did it with [Mayor] Kevin Faulconer,” said the Orange County resident. “You did it [despite] a huge Democratic registration advantage. … You crushed the Labor-funded Democrats. If you can do it in San Diego, [Republicans] can absolutely do it statewide.”
But he wasn’t just tailoring his message to the audience at the Town & Country. Kashkari’s talked up Faulconer’s win throughout his gubernatorial campaign. It’s no wonder: Republicans don’t have many stars in California shining as brightly as Faulconer is at the moment:
The New York Times wrote that Faulconer’s win, “raises the possibility that the 47-year-old former public relations executive could become an important leader in the efforts to rebuild the Republican Party in California.”
And why not? Faulconer has made San Diego the largest city in America with a Republican mayor. California has no statewide Republican elected officials and controls less than a third of the state Legislature. Faulconer won in a race where national and local labor unions spent more than $4 million to defeat him and President Barack Obama weighed in to endorse his opponent.
Kashkari issued this statement a day or so after Faulconer’s big win in February:
“I’m thrilled to congratulate Kevin Faulconer on his win tonight. Kevin’s election is a victory for the people of San Diego, and it confirms that Republicans can win in California by promoting positive economic ideas that unite people and encourage them to move forward together. I was proud to have joined hundreds of other activists, community leaders and concerned citizens from across the state working to get out the vote for Kevin’s campaign, and I know he will be a great leader for all San Diegans.”
Last month, he threw in a couple shout-outs during an Anaheim debate with Tim Donnelly, who Kashkari edged out in last week’s election. Los Angeles Times reporter Melanie Mason live-tweeted the match-up:
Less than two weeks later, he again pointed to Faulconer’s win during a visit with the Chula Vista Republican Women’s Federation. From KUSI:
Part of his strategy is to enlarge the Republican tent.
“These issues of jobs and education and economic mobility, these are issues that can not only unite Republicans, but can bring decline to states back, bring some Democrats along, and that’s how you win.”
A path not unlike what Kevin Faulconer did to win the Mayor’s Race.
“With your great new mayor in San Diego, you showed how we can do this. So the campaign that you ran with Kevin (Faulconer) was very positive – an inclusive campaign, where he reached out to every group imaginable.”
And before taking the podium Monday, Kashkari gushed separately to the U-T:
“Just look at Kevin Faulconer,” he said of San Diego’s mayor, elected in February on a jobs and neighborhood-improvement message. “He won a decisive victory even though Democrats have a huge registration advantage in San Diego.”