The turf war with Texas over one of California's glitziest businesses continued Monday as Republican state Sen. Ted Gaines tried to fend off the Lone Star State's efforts to recruit Tesla to build a factory there.
His shtick? Appearing in front of the state Capitol in Austin with a cardboard cut-out of the luxury electric car.
"A few weeks ago, Governor (Rick) Perry drove up to our Capitol in a Tesla. I was planning to do the same thing here in the spirit of healthy competition but it was impossible to even get a Tesla in Texas," Gaines said in a statement.
"That's not the case in California. They are already everywhere. I look forward to their expansion in my state and seeing them driven all over the country soon."
Gaines, a Republican from Roseville, and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, are carrying legislation to try to lure Tesla to build its factory in California, arguing that the plant would create 6,500 new jobs. Senate Bill 1309 declares the Legislature's intent to "utilize financial incentives, changes to regulatory and environmental processes, and other possible tools to expedite construction in California," according to Gaines' statement.
Gaines, who is challenging Democratic Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in the Nov. 4 election, has been posting updates from his trip to Austin on Twitter. One picture showed him surrounded by Texas news media, and a "selfie" in front of the lush grounds at the Texas Capitol noted, "they even water their lawn!" The grass outside California's Capitol, by contrast, is looking pretty yellow these days with watering cut back due to the drought.
PHOTO: With the Texas Capitol looming, Sen. Ted Gaines, left, talks with the media in Austin. Photo by Brent Lowder.