SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Thomas Del Beccaro, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, announced on Sunday that he would seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2016 by Democrat Barbara Boxer.
Del Beccaro joined a small pool of Republican candidates in a long-shot race in the lopsidedly Democratic state.
Also seeking the seat on the Republican side is Rocky Chavez, a state senator who represents part of San Diego County.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, so far the only major Democrat actively campaigning for the nomination, moved quickly to lock up political and financial backing in the race and is widely viewed as the front-runner for the November 2016 election.
Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is also considering a run.
Del Beccaro, a conservative, has never held elective office but has served in a variety of positions in California's struggling Republican Party.
"The largest single threat today to the free exercise of religion - is growing, godless, centralized government," he tweeted on Thursday.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)