But the Twin Peaks Republican and former member of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project, has a new spokeswoman, Jennifer Kerns, and as of Thursday a memorandum detailing his "path to victory" in 2014.
This path involves any number of external factors, including the reaction of Republicans to the party's more moderate candidate, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, and to the effect, if any, of recent gun control legislation on the public approval rating of Gov. Jerry Brown.
It also includes a rather favorable reading of an incident involving Donnelly, his carry-on and a gun.
"While many people refer to Jerry Brown as 'Teflon Jerry' because political attacks historically haven't stuck to him, Donnelly is giving the political master a run for his money," Kerns wrote.
She called her candidate "Deft Donnelly" and offered as evidence of his skill his handling of his detention at a Southern California airport last year for having a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag.
Donnelly said at the time that he forgot the gun was in his bag and later pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors.
"Despite a flurry of press reports and some mild Twitter teasing," she wrote, "Donnelly has come out of that misstep fairly unscathed."
PHOTO: Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, speaks to reporters at the California Republican Party's fall convention in Anaheim on Oct. 5, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders