SAN DIEGO - Former state Republican Party chairman Ron Nehring of San Diego tossed his hat in the ring for lieutenant governor on Tuesday.
In a statement, Nehring called for a bold vision for California's leaders and comprehensive reform of state government.
"Around the world, California is recognized for the innovation, creativity, and hard work of its people," Nehring said. "But today we have a government that is failing in too many ways -- sky-high unemployment, more poverty than any state in the nation, failing schools and a toxic environment for job creation. We can do better."
Nehring, the state GOP leader from 2007-11, will face business owner John Estrada in the primary. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, is also considering joining the race, according to reports. Incumbent Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking reelection.
Last month, Nehring was quoted by the Sacramento Bee as saying that a paucity of Republican candidates for statewide office left the party "two steps away from a nightmare scenario" that would harm GOP candidates for legislative and congressional seats.
He's the first Republican to join the race for lieutenant governor.
"The policies of Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom and the Democrats in Sacramento have produced high taxes and high poverty together with shrinking economic opportunity and troubled schools," Nehring said. "There is a better way, and as a candidate for lieutenant governor, I plan to offer a better vision and leadership."
Nehring has also been chairman of the Republican Party in San Diego County, and is a campaign consultant and commentator.