Sources tell FOX40 News that Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones will announce his candidacy for California’s 7th Congressional District as a Republican, challenging incumbent Democrat Ami Bera. Bera won one of closest congressional races in the country last year, beating challenger Doug Ose by barely a percentage point.
The race was targeted by both the Democratic and Republican parties, pushing campaign spending to over $20 million, the most expensive in the nation. Jones has acknowledged being approached by numerous people to run but has so far not committed. But a leading national election consultant has called a news conference for Monday saying an important political announcement regarding the sheriff would be made.
Bera has often bucked party line and voted with Republicans on some key issues, but conservatives believe he is still ideologically vulnerable in the district.
“To have somebody like Scott who embodies true conservative values and bring the fight into Ami’s backyard and make him really work, that’s who we’re looking for,” said Sacramento County Republican Party executive director Doug Haaland.
Jones first came to the attention of party leaders last year when he produced a YouTube video challenging President Obama to reform immigration policy. That was in the wake of the murder of one of his officers by a Mexican national who was deported from the U.S. twice.
The outspoken Jones has commented frequently on state and national policy issues involving law enforcement, but he will have to broaden his views in a run for Congress.
“From foreign policy to domestic policy to this, that and the other…He’s venturing into potentially stormy waters he hasn’t had to deal with,’ said political analyst Leo McElroy.
Still name recognition won’t be an issue…he won an uncontested second term as sheriff last year.
And if he announces a run for Congress in 2016 it will be a so-called free ride because if he loses, he will remain sheriff until 2018.