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Oceanside’s Rocky Chávez Forms Exploratory Committee For U.S. Senate Run

Rocky Chavez, a candidate for state Assembly.

Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chávez of Oceanside announced Tuesday that he is forming an exploratory committee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Barbara Boxer, who is not seeking re-election.

"Our nation suffers from a lack of clear leadership when it comes to issues of national security and looking out for California families who have seen stagnant wage growth for almost two decades," Chávez said in a statement.

"My story is like that of so many other California families, having worked in the grape fields with my uncle and cousins as a child to seeing one of my own children attend an Ivy League medical school. That's the American Dream, and it's what every parent hopes to see for their own children. But if we don't take steps to protect our nation and help create more opportunities for our children, we risk losing that Dream."

Chávez, a moderate Republican who represents much of north coastal San Diego County, was in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 30 years and rose to the rank of colonel. He said last month that he would consider running for Boxer's seat. Now, he's making that official.

He will begin talking to fundraising groups to see if there is support for his candidacy, spokeswoman Arianna Barrios said. If he raises $5,000, he will then have to make a formal declaration that he's running, Barrios said.

Boxer announced on Jan. 8 that she would retire next year from the Senate after serving there since her election in 1992.

Chavez, who was first elected to the Assembly in 2012, is the former head of the California Veterans Affairs Department. He also served on the Oceanside City Council for seven years.

"My strong history of leadership and compelling personal narrative give me great confidence," Chávez said in his statement. "I believe we can start a movement that will make a real difference in the lives of California families."

He said he was considering a run for the U.S. Senate after California Attorney General Kamala Harris said she was running for Boxer's seat.

When Harris announced her candidacy, she said she would "be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity."

"I will be a fighter for our children who deserve a world-class education, and for students burdened by predatory lenders and skyrocketing tuition. And I will fight relentlessly to protect our coast, our immigrant communities and our seniors."

Harris is a former two-term San Francisco district attorney and the first woman to hold the top prosecutor post in California.

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