Former Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones plans to file nomination papers today to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in elections next year, a political advisor fconfirmed Thursday.
Jones, who will file papers at the registrar of voters office in his hometown of Fresno, will become the fourth candidate seeking the GOP nomination. Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, former Los Altos Hills Mayor Toni Casey and Ventura County Assemblyman Tony Strickland have also announced bids to unseat Boxer.
Sean Walsh, Jones' longtime advisor, said the "election of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrates the public is hungry for elected officials who are willing to work with Republicans and Democrats.
"This election is going to be about doing the public's business, not about partisan politics.... What we have in Barbara Boxer is a highly partisan elected official who is unable and unwilling to work in a bipartisan manner."
Jones angered many Republicans during the 2000 California presidential primary contest when he switched his endorsement from George W. Bush to Arizona Sen. John McCain.
The switch hampered Jones' ability to raise funds in his 2002 bid for governor, and the candidate ultimately finished third in the race for the GOP nomination.
On Thursday, a spokesman for Marin said Republican voters should not forget that endorsement switch.
"California Republican voters who know that President Bush needs strong party unity must pause and reflect on whether Mr. Jones' high-profile reversal of support for George W. Bush in 2000 would make him a reliable supporter of the president's agenda," Marin said in a statement.
Marin's campaign also questioned Jones' ability to raise funds for a successful run against Boxer.
Jones' campaign declined to comment on that but referred to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that said, "Bush operatives have signaled they won't oppose Mr. Jones if he decides to take another shot at statewide office."
Today is the deadline for candidates to file for the ballot in the March 2 primary.