As he re-commissioned a borrowed RV and touched off a 10-day push through central and northern California on Tuesday, Tim Donnelly suggested at his first stop, in Roseville, what he needs badly at this point in the campaign.
"If you can write an additional check," the Republican candidate for governor said, "please search out your heart and do everything you can."
Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman and tea party favorite, reported Friday that he raised only about $374,000 last year and was left by the end of December with just $54,299 on hand. Jerry Brown, the third-term governor Donnelly is bidding to unseat, held about $17 million.
In three speeches Tuesday - at a fundraiser, a rally and a meeting of Republicans at an Old Spaghetti Factory - Donnelly acknowledged many of his supporters will not write the kind of high-dollar checks that fill Brown's filings.
But the Legislature's most outspoken anti-illegal immigration and gun-rights advocate told several dozen supporters at a glass and window business, "You might know somebody who can write me a larger check than you can - a thousand dollars, or five or ten. Introduce me to them. Hey, I will make the phone calls."
It is unclear how Donnelly's fundraising will stand up against the other Republican in the race, who only entered the contest last month. Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, reported the first contribution of his campaign - a $5,000 check from Woodside money manager Paul Edwards - just moments before Donnelly began speaking in Roseville. The contribution reflects Kashkari's efforts for less than a full day after he announced his candidacy, and it does not account for contributions that were not immediately received.
Donnelly told Republicans in Roseville that big government is the "greatest threat to your future." He criticized Brown's handling of the ongoing drought and promised broadly to ease California's regulatory climate if elected.
Donnelly said supporters who can't donate more can do other things: volunteer, help campaign videos go viral, "like" him on Facebook.
"Most important," he said at the Old Spaghetti Factory, "I'm going to ask you to pray."
Editor's note: This post was updated at 12:30 p.m. Thursday to correct the description of issues on which Donnelly is outspoken. He is the Legislature's most outspoken anti-illegal immigration and gun-rights advocate.
PHOTO: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly speaks at a campaign rally at The Glass Guru in Roseville on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders