Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones ended months of speculation by announcing that he will run for Congress in the 7th Congressional District as a Republican.
The incumbent, Congressman Ami Bera, barely defeated former Congressman Doug Ose by one percentage point last year. It was a race that saw outside interests pour $13 million into the race where party registration is virtually equal between Republicans and Democrats.
Jones stepped on to the national stage after Deputy Danny Oliver was murdered by a Mexican national who had been deported several times for various crimes. He posted a YouTube video calling out President Obama for his immigration policy.
Jones said the national response to the video was one of the reasons he decided to run for Congress.
"I found that the more I talked about some of these issues on a national scale the more it did resonate with people and the more support I got," said Jones.
Jones said he wanted to avoid politics when he was elected sheriff but found that it was part of the job and it was the responsibility to speak out on issues that concerned people he protected.
While he says he has thoughts on a variety of issues that concern voters, his biggest concern is homeland security and protecting America's borders. He says he's not against Syrian refugees entering this country, but also says that people are at risk with current immigration policies.
"I have absolutely no confidence in the federal government's either ability and or desire to fully vet this group of folks who are coming in our country," said Jones.
There was also a frustration at not being able to affect policiy determined at the national level.
"I can continue to stay here in Sacramento and continue to throw rocks or I can...step up and do something about it," said Jones.
Jones was elected to a second term as sheriff last year, meaning if he should lose his race against Bera he would remain sheriff for two more years.
Bera released a statement saying he welcomed a discussion of the issues that concern voters in his district and that he is confident that voters are satisfied with his record in Congress.
"The 7th district will always be competitive and as voters make a decision I'm confident that my work representing them will be reflected when they cast their votes," said Bera.