ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Republicans who want Gov. Jerry Brown's job clashed over gun rights and the direction of the GOP in their first and possibly only joint appearance in a low-visibility primary campaign.

Lagging in polls and with less than three weeks until California's June 3 election, former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari leveled a series of pointed attacks on fellow Republican Tim Donnelly, a state assemblyman and tea party favorite. He said Donnelly had denigrated Hispanics, blacks and Jews, and suggested Donnelly couldn't beat the Democratic governor after alienating a broad swath of the state voters.

Republican voter registration has fallen to 28.5 percent in California, and "if we keep shrinking, we are never going to win another election," Kashkari warned. Democrats hold every statewide office and 43.5 percent of California voter registration.

Donnelly, who has held an edge over Kashkari in voter polls, dismissed the criticism as the desperation of a struggling candidate.

"They only attack you when you are the front-runner," Donnelly said. "The only colors that matter to me are red, white and blue, because those are the colors of freedom."

The contest pits the moderate Kashkari, a former banker who in the Bush administration helped lead the federal bank bailout, against Donnelly, who is best known for his opposition to gun control and any softening of immigration laws.

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