Kashkari, 39, announced today that he is stepping down from his job as management director for Pacific Investment Management Co., a Newport Beach investment firm. He expressed an interest in entering public service in California in multiple interviews published today and has launched a website touting his biography and leadership bona fides.
"I'm not the typical California Republican. I'm the son of immigrants," Kashkari told the Wall Street Journal. "I come from modest upbringing. I have a successful track record. I'm an optimist. And I think something can be done if people work together."
Kashkari, who says he now lives in Orange County, was a key figure in implementing the $700 billion bank bailout effort, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, during President George W. Bush's second term. He stayed at the department for the start of Barack Obama's presidency before leaving to join Pimco in 2009.
All eight statewide constitutional offices, including governor, will be on the ballot in 2014. Democratic Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat will be up for a vote in 2016. Viable Republican candidates for statewide office are in short supply for the party, which has struggled with fundraising and at the ballot box in recent years. The party, which has seen its share of the electorate drop to below 30 percent, lost every bid for statewide office in 2010.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has been the only Republican to publicly announce plans to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown if the 74-year-old Democrat runs for a second term.
PHOTO CREDIT: Neel Kashkari, then interim assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, speaks during an event for the Institute of International Bankers on Oct. 13, 2008, in Washington. (AP file photo, 2008 / Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Editor's note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that Sen. Barbara Boxer is up for re-election in 2014. Her seat is not open until 2016. The Bee regrets the error.