Chávez withdraws from U.S. Senate race, will seek re-election to Assembly
At the start of a Monday night debate, California State Assembly Member Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) dropped out of the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the U.S. Senate.
“I think the best role I can fill for the Republican Party in moving the agenda forward which I’ve been involved in since 2001 is run for my Assembly seat in the 76th. I’m not going to be running for the United States Senate and I will leave the field right now,” Chavez said at the beginning of the KOGO news radio debate. The debate had been billed as a discussion between three candidates, but soon became a contest between two Republican candidates to represent California in the U.S. Senate.
Chavez was left with $43,000 in debt from his Senate campaign according to the Sacramento Bee. He spoke with the outlet prior to the debate explaining that in the past 11 months he has not been able to raise money effectively and has been contributing his own funds to keep things going.
Chavez also identified his desire to remain active in politics as a decision point in leaving one election race for the other in the telephone interview with the Bee. He went on to give a nod to aspirations at running for Senate again in 2018. He indicated that his failure to gain traction was due to lack of funds.
On Monday Chavez posted:
The remaining two Republican candidates seeking to replace the retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are two former California GOP chairs, Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim. The Bee reported that while the establishment-type Chavez matches up most closely with Sundheim, he said he would not be making an immediate endorsement.
On the Democratic Party side are California Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) .
Given California’s open primary system, and a state that as a whole has favored Democrats despite its “Reagan Country” history, Harris and Sanchez could end up in the November general election competing for Boxer’s seat.
Chavez returns to a race in the conservative leaning 76th Assembly District that he won against Republican Sherry Hodges with significant funds from Bay area Republican megadonor Charles Munger, Jr. He now faces Republican opponents Phil Graham and Jerry Kern.