SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari, who announced Tuesday that he is running for governor, failed to vote in some statewide elections and presidential contests, according to public records from several county clerks.
The documents show that Kashkari missed several elections over the last two decades, including the 2012 Republican primary election and the 2005 special election called by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That election included unsuccessful measures to curb unions’ political power and teacher tenure.
Kashkari acknowledged in a December interview with The Associated Press that his voting record was blemished, including several missed elections in the early 2000s when he was a junior executive at Goldman Sachs, where he would frequently be called away for travel at the last minute. Records show those elections include the 2004 presidential primary and the 2006 gubernatorial primary.
Kashkari, a Republican, said his colleagues later explained that he could receive ballots by mail and vote absentee, which he now does.
“I always thought absentee ballots were for soldiers stationed in Germany or South Korea,” he said in the interview.
A poor voting record was among the issues that plagued 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, who eventually admitted that she had sat out elections for decades before she realized the importance of voting. There was no record of her registering to vote before 2002.
Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Kashkari, said comparisons to Whitman are not accurate. He said Kashkari first registered as a Republican at 18 and has consistently re-registered even as he moved around the country and the state.
Kashkari voted in eight of 10 presidential or gubernatorial general elections since he turned 18, McLear said. He also noted that unlike Whitman, Kashkari gave up a lucrative private-sector career to serve in the federal government.
“So I think his record on civic engagement is evident,” McLear said.
Records show Kashkari voted consistently from 2006 to 2010 in Nevada County, where he owns a home near Truckee, although he missed two local elections in 2011.
Democrats pounced on records from the clerk’s office in Philadelphia County, Pa., that show no record of him voting there during the 2000 presidential contest, even though Kaskhari was registered there while attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
McLear said Kashkari “distinctly recalls casting a ballot for George W. Bush when he was at Wharton.”
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said in a statement that Kashkari should “come clean with the voters of California and release proof that you voted for George W. Bush or apologize for your misrepresentation.”
Kashkari also said during the AP interview that he did not vote in the 1996 presidential election, when he was a graduate student working on a project to build a solar car and thought “Bob Dole didn’t have much of a shot against Bill Clinton. So, shame on me.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.