Gubernatorial candidate goes homeless to prove point
July 31st, 2014
11:16 AM ET
3 months ago

Gubernatorial candidate goes homeless to prove point

(CNN) - Down by double digits in the most recent polling, California's Republican gubernatorial challenger took his campaign to the streets.

Neel Kashkari announced Thursday that he recently spent a week living as a homeless person in Fresno, California, to highlight poverty in the Golden State. Kashkari's campaign released a 10-minute long video that chronicles the candidate's week long unsuccessful search for a job.

The video shows Kashkari riding to Fresno on a bus on July 21, with what they say was just $40 in his pocket.

"This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. I came to Fresno expecting to be able to find a job, and take care of myself. But it's been a week and I've found nothing. I've run out of money and had to turn to the homeless shelter for food," said Kashkari, in the video, which shows him sleeping on public benches and being turned down as he searched for a job.

"While the politicians who run California pat themselves on the back and claim a 'California Comeback,' they willfully ignore millions of our neighbors who are living in poverty," Kashkari said in a statement. "California's most vulnerable citizens deserve leaders who will fight for them – and as Governor I intend to do just that."

Public opinion surveys indicate Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is in the driver's seat as he campaigns this year for an unprecedented fourth term. Brown had a 20-point lead over Kashkari in a Field Poll conducted in June and a 19-point lead in a Public Policy Institute of California survey conducted this month. Brown also appears to have a huge campaign cash advantage, with more than $22 million in the bank.

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Brown campaign strategist Dan Newman told CNN that he's "puzzled trying to reconcile the bizarre stunt with his cynical refusal to help struggling homeowners when he had the chance, as well as his opposition to the minimum wage and unemployment benefits."

Newman also said he's "wondering how authentic an experience this is when (Kashkari's) followed by a paid camera crew before returning to his $10 million beach house."

Why Kashkari's running for governor

Kashkari, 41, is a former Bush administration treasury official, fund manager and investment banker. He beat out GOP state Rep. Tim Donnelly for second place earlier this month in California's gubernatorial primary.

The Golden State holds "open" or "jungle" primaries, in which all candidates compete in a single contest and the first and second place finishers, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.

The 76-year old Brown was first elected California governor in 1974 and re-elected in 1978. He also served as Oakland mayor from 1998-2006, California attorney general from 2006-2010, and was elected governor again four years ago. He also made bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976, 1980 and 1992, but earlier this year ruled out a fourth run for the White House in 2016.


Filed under: 2014 • California • Jerry Brown • Neel Kashkari
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. guest

    'look, i was homeless for a week once, and then i decided that i dont want to be homeless anymore, and bango-presto, i wasnt homeless anymore. I know from experience that we can just cut all safety nets, these homeless people can make the same decision i did any time they want." – Kashkari in a future conference

    July 31, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. LittleAztec

    well, I live in that city and I have a few questions? Like where was he bunking down? Because I don't recall seeing any globe streetlights. Not saying we don't have them, but don't know where any are. Second, sounds like he was after white collar professional jobs. Not much call for those here. Now he could have gone out to the farms and got a job picking fruits and vegetables. Does he even know that this is the ag capital of the usa?

    July 31, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. JoeSunCity

    guest

    'look, i was homeless for a week once, and then i decided that i dont want to be homeless anymore, and bango-presto, i wasnt homeless anymore. I know from experience that we can just cut all safety nets, these homeless people can make the same decision i did any time they want." – Kashkari in a future conference
    -------------------

    My thoughts exactly, I would also add that he is against raising the minimum wage too.

    July 31, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    Neel Tushar Kashmiri, an India dude, so pathetic. He is deceiving public. Pathetic, deport.

    July 31, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Lisa Allen

    I would vote for Neel Kashkari if I lived in California. At least someone acknowledges what I live every day and have lived since the recession.

    July 31, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Jerry Okamura

    Why wasn't he able to find work?

    July 31, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Neel Kashkari's public theater is an exercise in futility. He doesn't have any chance of winning the governorship because Republicans make up less than 30% of registered voters. Republican conservatism does not play well in a progressive and diverse state like California.

    July 31, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Jiffy

    If you read up on what he stands for and advocates, the Republicans will label him as a Rino. He's quite moderate. ANd that is death in Rightyland.

    July 31, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Atul C

    I like the way Neel is thinking and prove a point. But 75% in recent survey agreed that illegal immigration is the biggest concerned for them and in CA case too that is the reason why citizens can't find jobs. If he can sell illegal immigration and Brown as their friend, you're looking at much closer fight.

    July 31, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Brad

    Proof that we need more law enforcement patrols at night. He was able to sleep overnight on a park bench in clear violation of the law without a single police officer citing or arresting him. Something is broken in the system. We truly need help cleaning up the streets.

    July 31, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Brian

    I just can't get over the disconnect here. A Republican campaigning on the premise that homeless people are struggling? What next, a Libertarian saying that we just don't have enough government involvement in our lives?

    July 31, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Brian

    LittleAztec

    well, I live in that city and I have a few questions? Like where was he bunking down? Because I don't recall seeing any globe streetlights. Not saying we don't have them, but don't know where any are. Second, sounds like he was after white collar professional jobs. Not much call for those here. Now he could have gone out to the farms and got a job picking fruits and vegetables. Does he even know that this is the ag capital of the usa?

    -------------------------------------------------–

    With camera crews following, you are not rushed out of the areas that homeless people typically can't inhabit. It is just like Jane Byrne "living" in a Cabrini Green apartment in the 70s. Before she moved in, the entire building was renovated and there was more security there than Fort Knox any time she was anywhere close. As soon as she moved out, things returned to normal. Publicity stunt, nothing else.

    July 31, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Thomas

    @Rick McDaniel
    There is no hope for CA. That became painfully clear, when brown was again elected there, after bankrupting the state, previously.

    When people are that stupid........there is no way to save them.
    =========

    You just have a bad taste for California because all your children moved there.

    July 31, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Jeff6187

    Homeless ... in Fresno during the warm summer nights. Very doable.
    Homeless ... for just a week. Very doable.
    Homeless ... with $40 in his pocket for a week. A challenge ... but doable.
    Homeless ... without 3 children to care for. The MOST doable.

    Now then ... if you wish to try a VALID experiment ... try being homeless in the cold rainy winter, with no cash on hand, with three children to care for ... long term. Compared to that reality ... yours is just a stunt.

    July 31, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    Raise minimum wage to 14/ hour and cut even legal immigration. These two will fix the problem.

    July 31, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. georgevreelandhill2010

    To live like a homeless person is to live with little or no money and no home and a tomorrow that is no better.
    This is a farce.

    George Vreeland Hill

    July 31, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Bryan

    Sad and pathetic. The depths these politicians will stoop to. His actions are simply condescending and attention grabbing.

    July 31, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. jason

    deception: his home country style....deport him back to run there

    July 31, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Dead Center

    @ Gurgyl
    Neel Tushar Kashmiri, an India dude, so pathetic. He is deceiving public. Pathetic, deport.
    ---------------
    Oh, give it up already. Because he's of Indian descent, he's pathetic and should be deported? Deported to where?? Neel Kashmari was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Where are you from? Perhaps we should deport YOU.

    July 31, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. Bean Counter

    But the Obama Administration has demonstrated that it is far better use US tax dollars to aid and abet criminal immigrants than help our poor and homeless.

    August 1, 2014 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  21. Name

    I'm from Stockton and now I'm in Texas. California is in serious trouble, hundred billion dollar deficit, drought that is affecting agriculture, public education that is failing out children. We need more business minded people in office.

    Secondly, raising the minimum wage will only hurt business growth and less people will have jobs because less companies will be able to afford to pay their workers. It's simple economics, not everyone deserves wealth but some people earn it. It's every citizens responsibility not to ask your government for handouts and fair chances but to create those chances for yourself through hardwork and sacrifice.

    August 1, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. salty dog

    Did he ever actually say how he would help these people? Typical gop, promise, with no plan to deliver, he was I George w administration, enough said right there

    August 1, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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