Attorney General Kamala Harris is no longer the sole declared candidate to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate. Thursday, state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez announced his candidacy for the 2016 race.
Chavez, a Republican who represents parts of Orange and San Diego counties, is a bit of a long shot -- a recent Field Poll of likely voters found him near the bottom of a long list of potential candidates.
But in his announcement Thursday he immediately steered the conversation in a direction that might be unfamiliar to Harris, a former San Francisco prosecutor: foreign affairs.
Chavez, who spent 28 years in the Marine Corps and rose to the rank of colonel, said in an online video announcing his candidacy that the country needs people who understand foreign policy.
"You look at the televisions right now, and you see what's happening in the Middle East, and North Africa with ISIS, you see what's happening in the Ukraine with Russia, Russia redefining itself, you look at Iran becoming a nuclear power. There's issues we need to worry about, and that's why I am running for Senate," he said. "Because being a Marine colonel, I served 28 years, I understand foreign affairs and foreign policy, I've been around the world a few times, and we need serious leaders for these serious problems."
In the two-minute spot, Chavez also said environmental issues will be key for him -- and he rejected arguments that being a Republican will dictate his fate in the race, stressing that he has deep roots in the Golden State. (It's worth noting that while Latino Democrats have pushed hard for a Latino candidate in the Senate race, they probably weren't talking about a GOP politician.)
"To all those people who say, 'No way can a Republican win in California,' I tell 'em there's a very good way that a Californian who understands California, who represents California, can win in California as a Republican."
Here's the full video: