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Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez Will Run For US Senate Seat

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, is shown speaking at the Capitol in Sacramento, Sept. 3, 2013.
Associated Press
Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, is shown speaking at the Capitol in Sacramento, Sept. 3, 2013.

Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez Will Run For US Senate Seat
Rocky Chavez, a former Oceanside city councilman and Marine colonel, was first elected to the Assembly in 2012 and re-elected in November.

Oceanside Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who has sought to broaden the appeal of the Republican Party with Hispanics, has launched an uphill campaign for U.S. Senate.

Chavez, 63, entered the 2016 race Thursday as a longshot in a state where Democrats hold every statewide office. He is seeking to replace Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is retiring when her term ends next year.

A retired Marine, Chavez joins a contest in which the only major candidate in the field is state Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat.

On Feb. 17, Chavez announced that he was forming an exploratory committee.

"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," Chavez said.

"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."

Chavez was first elected to the Assembly in 2012 and re-elected in November. He describes himself as "a fiscal conservative and social moderate."

Chavez was an Oceanside councilman, acting secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, a role to which he pays tribute in his committee's website, ColonelRockyChavez.com.

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

Harris announced she was running for the Senate a few days after Boxer said she was retiring. Two other Democrats have said they are considering running: Reps. Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove and Adam Schiff of Burbank.

A Field Poll released last month of likely voters showed Republican Condoleezza Rice supported by 49 percent of those surveyed, followed by Harris with 46 percent.

The poll included the names of 18 Democrats and Republicans who might run for the Senate seat, including Chavez. Of the likely voters surveyed, 20 percent said they were inclined to support him.