POLITICS
05/05/2014 02:54 pm ET

Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari Criticizes Wasteful Spending In New Ad

A Republican running to unseat California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has an ax to grind with the governor over a proposed $68 billion high-speed rail project.

The gubernatorial candidate, former Treasury Department official Neel Kashkari, released his first television advertisement Monday. He bifurcates a small model train car meant to represent the rail project as he chops wood and discusses how he would cut taxes, "move people from welfare to work" and "take an ax to wasteful spending."

“Career politicians are clueless about earning a dollar. All they know is how to spend yours. I’m Neel Kashkari. I’m not a politician, so I actually understand hard work,” Kashkari says in the ad.

Kashkari is vying to come in second to Brown in California's June 3 primary, in which the top two vote-getters advance to November's general election regardless of their party affiliation. On Monday, he also gave $500,000 to his own campaign.

Some political observers may see Kashkari's pledge to cut wasteful spending as ironic, given that the candidate led the taxpayer-funded Troubled Asset Relief Program, in which the federal government helped bail out major banks in 2008 and 2009.

The candidate also isn't the first to symbolically attack his opponent's policies in a campaign ad. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) shot at a copy of a cap-and-trade bill, while Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) took aim at a target meant to represent the Affordable Care Act.

Kashkari has been endorsed by former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), though recent polling shows Brown with a wide lead over his GOP rivals. State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) is also running in the primary.

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