Indian American Neel Kashkari on Tuesday finally confirmed rumours swirling about for months and announced he was running for the Republican ticket for governor of California.
“Just announced campaign for Governor,” 40-year-old Kashkari tweeted. He added in the same post that “jobs and education” will be his main election promise.
The Republican Governors’ Association, headed by Chris Christie, quickly endorsed him, tweeting, “We welcome @NeelKashkari to the California Governor's race.”
Kashkari is best known for his role in former president George W Bush’s economic team that first took on the economic crisis, as an assistant secretary at the US treasury department.
As co-author of “Break the glass: Bank recapitalization plan”, the plan used to bailout troubled banks with government funds, he has been called the “bailout boss”.
Kashkari will have to fight off Republican assemblyman Tim Donnelly for the party ticket to take on sitting Democratic governor Jerry Brown in November.
If he wins the ticket, and goes on to win the election, he will become the third Republican governor of Indian descent, joining Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley.
Kashkari’s announcement makes him the fifth Indian American in the 2014 race -- joining sitting Democratic congressman Ami Bera and aspirant Ro Khanna, also in California.
Their numbers are likely to swell closer to the elections, as has happened in recent years, with the count growing every election -- including state and county levels.
President Barack Obama’s former chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra, for instance, ran unsuccessfully for the post of Lt Governor of Virginia state recently.
He is a Democrat, as most Indian Americans have been traditionally, despite the fact that Jindal and Haley -- the only two governors from the community -- are Republican.
More Indian-origin Americans have been moving towards the Republican Party in recent years, Kashkari being among them.
Kashkari’s parents came to the US 50 years ago. His father taught engineering at a local college and his mother worked at a community hospital treating patients battling cancer.
Kashkari grew up in Ohio, studied engineering at the University of Chicago and moved to California after graduation to work at at a firm that produced technology for NASA’s space missions.
He was on the move again shortly, joining Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania. And was soon an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, in San Francisco.
In 2006, Bush tapped Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson to be his next treasury secretary. Kashkari, who had met Paulson only once, left a congratulatory message on his voicemail.
Paulson got back with a job offer, the next day.