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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Neel Kashkari Needs a Vulnerability Study

Investment banking executive Neel Kashkari may run for governor of California as a Republican.  If so, he will need to do a serious vulnerability study.

Josh Richman writes at The San Jose Mercury News:
Kashkari is a fiscal conservative, but supports abortion rights, pro-gay marriage and is a gun owner who says he doesn't object to background checks for all firearm purchases -- stances that might have sunk him in a traditional GOP primary. Yet thanks to the state's new top-two primary system, he won't have to toss red meat to the right-wing Republican base and take positions that damage him in a general election in which a growing number of independent voters usually pick the winner.
Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a fellow moderate, dropped out of the race Thursday., and the only other GOP candidate is Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, who is best known for being an anti-illegal-immigrant activist and staunch gun-rights defender.
Whether his general-election opponent is Donnelly or Kashkari, Jerry Brown is a heavy favorite to win. But Kashkari would be more competitive than the eccentric Donnelly, who would  probably lose in a landslide. Democrats want such a landslide in order to help their downballot candidates. And so expect them to carrry out serious opposition research on Kashkari, in the hope that Donnelly will outpoll him in the primary.  They executed a similar strategy in 2002, taking down Richard Riordan in the GOP primary, leaving them the opponent they wanted:  William Simon -- an intelligent, nice person but a weak candidate.

Kashkari needs to anticipate such attacks by doing a vulnerability study, that is, opposition research on himself.  As much as possible, he should address his weaknesses and preempt attacks.