LODI - Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly said Wednesday that the state should ask voters to use money earmarked for California's troubled high-speed rail project to instead build dams and other water infrastructure.
"That is something that I think would be wise, and I think there's broad support for that," he told reporters after an appearance in Lodi.
Donnelly said the state should also explore water desalinization.
Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, the other main Republican bidding to unseat Gov. Jerry Brown, have both criticized high-speed rail. Donnelly also went after Brown's $25 billion water project, calling it "flat-out insane."
Donnelly said the water project, in which Brown proposes building two tunnels to divert water around the Delta to the south, would result in a "massive disturbance of the ecosystem."
Before arriving in Lodi, Donnelly spoke to about 20 supporters in the parking lot of Young's Payless Supermarket on a foggy stretch of highway east of the city, in Lockeford.
The tea party favorite criticized the Democratic and Republican parties, saying "the parties haven't served us well."
He said his grandparents were Democrats. Though the party has been "hijacked by Marxist progressives," he said, partisanship only prevents Republicans from getting Democratic votes he said are "up for grabs."
Donnelly, nearing the end of a 10-day push through parts of central and northern California, did not mention Kashkari, but a supporter brought up Brown.
"What do you think your chances are against him?" she asked.
Said Donnelly: "No, you should be asking, 'What are his chances against me?'"