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Phil Matier: California's Tea Party Candidate Resists GOP's Slump

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The Tea Party took some national hits this week by losing several primary battles against the GOP establishment, but in California, a Tea Party Republican continues to lead as the GOP candidate for governor.

Many Republicans are looking at the Golden State as a test of sorts for the ideological direction the party will take on with the schism among more traditional members and the often-labeled as radical Tea Party members.

State Assemblyman and Tea Party conservative Tim Donnelly seems to be bucking the Republican's downward trend by leading his party in the race, though he's not rocketing points on the charts against the incumbent candidate, Governor Jerry Brown.

"He is legitimately a quality candidate," former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said of Donnelly. "You may disagree with his views and the types of programs he advocates, but he is a master at talking directly to the voters."

The gift of gab, if you will, is a supreme quality for any political candidate, Brown said. He recalled Arnold Schwarzenegger's win in California's recall election in 2003, calling the actor-turned-politician, the people's candidate.

Phil Matier: California's Tea Party Candidate Resists GOP's Slump

"He didn't have any philosophy. He didn't have anything else going for him except the movie-star quality and the Terminator title," he said.

There's going to be a Republican in the race no matter what come November. The interesting thing is, if you're looking for a moderate Republican, it's Jerry Brown. A number of people from the GOP are going to vote for him.

Neel Kashkari, a genuine moderate Republican, is not much of a candidate, lacking rapport with the people and visibility as someone who can assume power, according to Brown.

He may have the endorsements of Condoleezza Rice and Mitt Romney, but according to Brown, that won't matter.

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