But there’s nothing untoward about what he’s doing, campaign law experts said.
“It’s not legally new to campaign on a single issue, even when that issue is hyper-focused,” said Adav Noti, vice president and chief legal officer of the Campaign Legal Center. “The law is pretty agnostic as to what candidates choose to focus on.”
The primary will take place on June 7. Due to California’s unique election laws, under which the top two qualify for the general election, O’Dowd could be one-on-one with Padilla in the fall.
O’Dowd doesn’t say it explicitly, but he’s not trying to win, exactly.
“I’m going to limit myself to those questions very carefully,” he said. “And I’m going to tell people, you should vote for me if you think that’s the bigger issue.”
‘Trust me, he knows who I am’
O’Dowd insisted that his company, Green Hills Software, is not a competitor to Tesla.
“We don’t make self-driving cars,” he said, adding that some automakers use his software in some low-level components. “It’s none of our business.”
Green Hills highlights its expertise in manufacturing specialized software used in automated driving systems. Its website says its code is used in “hundreds of millions of vehicles.”
The New York Times has reported extensively on the shortcomings of Musk’s push for fully self-driving cars, including in a recent documentary film.
In February, Tesla recalled 54,000 of its cars for disabling a feature in its software that allowed vehicles to make rolling stops in certain cases. There are entire websites dedicated to documenting deaths involving Teslas, including those where driver assistance features have been proven to be involved.