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Government & Politics

GOP Governor's Race? What GOP Governor's Race?

California's State Capitol Building
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics

It’s less than a year until the first votes will be cast in the 2014 California governor’s race, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the campaign.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on why the Republican field is shaping up so slowly to challenge Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Here’s how the race looks right now:

There’s Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a tea party hero who announced his exploratory campaign on the conservative website Politichicks.tv

“California needs somebody to stand up and fight – and somebody who believes that we can be the Golden State again," says Donnelly.

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.  They are letting violent felons on the streets," says Maldonado.

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.  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 pretty – a very effective governor, and so trying to find the issues where you can draw contrast are going to be a challenge," says Wilson.

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," says Fleischman.

Voting by mail begins in less than 10 months.

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