Republican Doug Ose, a politically moderate former congressman from the Sacramento region who last year became one of President Donald Trump’s most vociferous surrogates in California, on Friday opened a committee to run for governor.
The filing allows Ose, 62, to begin raising money for the June primary. He said he will make a formal announcement within 10 days.
“Simply put, I’m running to rebuild the California dream.” he said. “I’ll work with anyone to make that happen.”
In a recent interview as he mulled entering the contest, Ose characterized his approach as that of a straight-talker who won’t sugarcoat the state’s shortfalls or tailor his positions to fit the whims of powerful interests like unions, which he views as captors of the dominant Democratic Party and defenders of an unacceptable status quo.
Everywhere he looks he sees uncontrolled homelessness and nagging crime. Schools are underperforming and roads and infrastructure have been allowed to fall into disrepair, not to mention the high taxes and lack of government oversight.
“It’s fascinating that those in office don’t see all of the problems. You can’t help but see them. I mean, come on. Just drive through any urban area,” Ose said. “Unless you are one of these bazillionaires, California is broken.”
He enters a race to replace Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in which Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not trailed since launching his committee nearly three years ago. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, another Democrat, has settled into second place in public polls, creating a vacuum on the right that Ose believes should be filled by a challenger with a record in both politics and business.
Under the state’s primary election system, the top-two candidates advance to the fall runoff, regardless of their political party.
Ose’s impact on field of candidates is not immediately clear, and will largely hinge on how much money he’s able to raise from a shrinking corps of Republican donors and how much of his own financial resources he’s willing to spend.
Ose’s Republican opponents, Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach and businessman John Cox, trail all but one of the Democrats in fundraising. Cox’s haul includes $3 million of his own money.