Karl Rove, the prominent Republican strategist, said Friday that Tim Donnelly will be a liability for Republicans nationwide if the tea party favorite finishes second in the gubernatorial primary election and advances to a November runoff against Gov. Jerry Brown.
"If the California Republican Party has as the leading candidate, the leading statewide candidate on the ballot this year somebody who has said the outrageous things that he's said and prone to the outrageous behavior that he routinely engages in, it will be used to tarnish not only the California Republican Party, but they'll throw it at everybody else on the ballot, and everybody else will, across the country, disavow the guy," Rove told the conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on his show.
Rove said, "Every time he goes out and says something, and as we've seen, Mr. Donnelly is quite prone to sharing the weird recesses and corners of his mind, it could be really problematic for the GOP."
Rove's remarks come a day after former California Gov. Pete Wilson issued a similar warning, and other prominent Republicans have rebuked Donnelly, a former member of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project. Among other controversies, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors after carrying a loaded gun into Ontario International Airport in 2012 and tried recently to tie his opponent, Neel Kashkari, to Islamic law.
Donnelly has dismissed warnings against him as coming from elite Republicans out of touch with the party's base.
"When the GOP is talking about the threat (I pose), they're right," Donnelly told the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board on Wednesday. "I'm a threat to the country-club Republicans. I'm a danger because I might bring a little more country into the club."
Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman, leads Kashkari, a more moderate Republican, in public opinion polls.
PHOTO: Then White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove listens as President George W. Bush, not shown, speaks with reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington in this April 2, 2007, file photo. Associated Press Photo/ Gerald Herbert