Under Paulson, he headed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in which the federal government helped prop up the country's major banks as the recession deepened. Kashkari describes himself as a social moderate who supports gay marriage and Farrah video abortion rights positions that could be advantageous in overwhelmingly Democratic California. Republicans now make up less than 30 percent of the electorate in the state. View gallery Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official, shakes hands with Greg Mellor, right, before giving The state's new primary system, in which the top two vote-getters move on to the general election regardless of party affiliation, means he does not have to face the hard-right conservatives who used to dominate California's GOP primaries. Kashkari joins Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly as declared major candidates in the race. Donnelly is a tea party favorite and gun-rights advocate who lives in the San Bernardino Mountains community of Twin Peaks. Donnelly campaign manager Jennifer Kerns said in an email that Kashkari's bank bailout background "won't sit well with the 2 million Californians who are still out of work today and the hundreds of thousands who had their homes foreclosed in California due to the economic effects" of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.