- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has $1.4 million on hand to surpass fellow Republican Tim Donnelly’s cash-starved campaign in California’s June 3 primary, according to campaign finance filings released Thursday.

The race has turned into a fight for second place as Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to cruise to the general election under the state’s top-two primary format.

Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official and architect of the nation’s bank bailout, is pouring money into campaign commercials and mailers to raise his visibility. His latest campaign finance filings show he has raised $4 million for his campaign. Half of that is his own money, accounting for roughly 40 percent of his stated personal wealth.

Donnelly, the favored candidate of conservative activists, has raised $450,000 in 2014 from mostly small donors. He has $70,000 on hand, but more than twice that in debt.

Neel is the only Republican candidate in this race with the resources to communicate with voters in these final days before June 3,” Kashkari’s campaign manager, Pat Melton, said in a statement. “With recent polls confirming significant growth in Neel’s support, we are confident he will ultimately win on Election Night.”

A poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California shows Donnelly with the support of 15 percent of likely primary voters and Kashkari with 10 percent support. The difference is almost within the poll’s margin of error, indicating the race between the two is tight.

Brown, who has $21 million for his re-election and has not been actively campaigning, is supported by nearly half of likely primary voters.

Donnelly has been running a low-budget grassroots campaign dependent on passionate conservative volunteers. He did not immediately respond to an email Thursday requesting comment.

Moderate and establishment Republicans have raised concerns about an extended Donnelly campaign damaging party candidates statewide. Donnelly is on probation for carrying a loaded gun into an airport and is accused of race-baiting for comments tying Kashkari, a Hindu, to supporting Islamic law. He also was the lone state lawmaker to vote against a bill that would prohibit state properties from displaying or selling items that contained an image of the Confederate flag.

Separately, Charles Munger Jr., among the California Republican Party’s most generous donors, filed documents this week to form an independent committee supporting the Kashkari campaign. Munger injected $350,000 into the committee’s $415,000 coffers, spending most of the money this week.

Reports also show heavy spending in the closely watched race for superintendent of public instruction. Tom Torlakson, the incumbent, reported he has spent $936,000 this year with $191,000 on hand. His rival Marshall Tuck, reported spending $835,000 this year, about $587,000 of it in the last two months, and he has $160,000 remaining.

The California Teachers Association reported spending nearly $2.4 million in support of Torlakson’s candidacy.

Records filed by Thursday evening in the widely contested race for secretary of state show Democratic candidate Derek Cressman with more than $50,000 on hand and about twice that in debt and Republican Pete Peterson with $11,000 on hand and almost $100,000 in debt. The remaining candidates, including well-financed Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla, who has been running television commercials, and independent Dan Schnur, have until midnight to file.


Associated Press writer Juliet Williams contributed to this report. Follow Fenit Nirappil on Twitter at http:/www.twitter.com/FenitN

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