A former investment banker who oversaw efforts to mitigate the U.S. mortgage meltdown under two presidents said on Tuesday he would challenge California Governor Jerry Brown for the state's top job in 2014.
Neel Kashkari, who ran the Troubled Asset Relief Program for the administrations of Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, said he would run as a Republican.
Brown is widely expected to seek re-election in November.
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Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs banker who most recently helped develop new initiatives at the southern California-based Pacific Investment Management Company, or PIMCO, said he was running on a platform of creating jobs and improving education.
"Today, the gift of a good education and the opportunity it creates are out of reach for millions of struggling Californians. That's why I'm running for governor: to create jobs and give kids a quality education. Jobs and education. That's it. That's my platform," Kashkari said in a statement.
(Read more: The problem? Too much tax money)
"Our schools, employment rate and small-business climate are ranked near the bottom, and we have the highest poverty rate in the country. The status quo our leaders defend is absolutely devastating for millions of our neighbors," he added.
Kashkari replaces former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, a moderate who dropped out of the campaign last week, as a mainstream Republican hopeful in the race.
Brown, who is serving a second round as governor in the most populous U.S. state, has been fundraising for months, but has not yet formally announced his candidacy. The 75-year-old, whose father was also governor, served two terms from 1975 to 1983.