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Romney, Wilson, Issa endorse Neel Kashkari

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POSTED April 28, 2014 6:34 p.m.

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Three nationally known Republicans endorsed California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari on Monday: former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former California Gov. Pete Wilson and Rep. Darrell Issa.

The endorsements come as the little-known former U.S. Treasury official is struggling to gain notoriety and support just weeks before the June primary.

Recent polls have shown Kashkari trailing Republican state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a tea party favorite from San Bernardino County, by double-digits. The two are among a field of candidates seeking to advance beyond the top-two primary and challenge Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in November.

Romney said in a statement that Kashkari “has demonstrated courage and steady leadership in tough times.” Kaskhari is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who led the federal bank bailout during the height of the recession.

None of the endorsements align with the overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning California electorate, but they could help Kashkari persuade Republicans to support him in the June primary. In that election, voters are expected to be older, whiter and more conservative than the overall California electorate.

In 2012, before California’s top-two primary took effect, Romney won the Republican presidential primary with 79.5 percent of the vote. He then lost in the general election with just 37 percent of the vote, compared with 60 percent for President Barack Obama.

Wilson, meanwhile, supported Proposition 187 in 1994, a proposal to ban immigrants who are in the country illegally from access to most social services. Support for that initiative led to a steady and steep decline in voter registration for California Republicans, who have struggled to attract younger and nonwhite voters ever since.

Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is considered one of the most conservative members of Congress from California and has led congressional attacks against White House policies.

 

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