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Assemblyman Chavez hints he will announce U.S. Senate bid on Thursday

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez: 'Be ready for a big announcement on Thursday'

GOP Assemblyman Rocky Chavez told supporters that he would have a “great announcement” about his potential U.S. Senate bid on Thursday, and strongly hinted that he was planning to run.

“Be ready for a big announcement on Thursday,” Chavez said in an interview Friday evening at a reception he was throwing for attendees of the state GOP convention in Sacramento. “I think it’s going to go very well, positively. I think we’re going to run around the state and start the discussion about things we care about like jobs and education and foreign affairs.”

He said he had begun putting together a team that included consultants in California and Washington and a finance team around the state.

“I’m putting everything together for the great announcement on Thursday,” Chavez said.

Chavez opened a fundraising committee to explore a bid this month,  and he also met with Republican Party groups in the nation’s capital about a potential run.

“They said go put your team together and raise money and come back,” Chavez said.

The self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate served in the U.S. Marine Corps and on the Oceanside City Council before being elected to the Assembly in 2012. He is not well-known statewide.

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Friday found that 19% of registered voters could identify him by name. In a multi-candidate field, he received the backing of 6% of those surveyed.

Given the Democratic Party’s 15-point voter registration advantage and the GOP’s inability to elect a statewide candidate since 2006, a Republican is not given a strong shot of winning the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer. Two other Republicans considering runs are former state party Chairmen Duf Sundheim and Tom Del Beccaro, both of whom were courting delegates at the convention.

Democratic Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is the sole major candidate in the race.

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

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