Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones will run for Congress, challenging Assemblyman Kevin Kiley

·2 min read
Paul Kitagaki Jr./pkitagaki@sacbee.com

After a decade as Sacramento Sheriff, Scott Jones announced Monday he will run for California’s new 3rd Congressional District.

This is the second time Jones, a Republican, has set his sights on a seat in Congress. In 2016 he challenged incumbent Democratic Rep. Ami Bera for control of his Elk Grove-centered district, losing by a margin of less than 3%.

Now, Jones is gearing up for another run, this time, in the the newly-drawn 3rd district, which includes all of Placer County, as well as parts of Sacramento, Nevada, El Dorado, Plumas, Sierra, and Yuba County.

“I will fight for law and order in America, stand up against the ‘Defund the Police’ movement, and secure our border,” Jones said in a tweet. “It’s time to put the safety of America and Americans first again.”

District 3 is currently represented by Democratic Rep. John Garamendi. But because of redistricting, Garamendi will run in the newly-drawn District 8, which now includes the Solano-North Contra Costa region. Much of the region making up the new District 3 is currently represented by Rep. Tom McClintock, a Republican, who recently opted to run in the new 5th Congressional District, which captures parts of Modesto and Fresno along with the western Sierra Nevada.

McClintock’s decision not to run in the new District 3 leaves the Republican-leaning region wide open for a newcomer.

Unlike 2016, Jones won’t have to face an incumbent, but he will face another Republican with regional name recognition and a track record of challenging Democrats in Sacramento.

Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, announced his bid for Congress in early January. Kiley, who has served in the Legislature for five years, became a conservative firebrand in the recall attempt of Gov. Gavin Newsom last year. After supporting the effort in 2020 (and self-publishing an ebook making the case for Newsom’s removal) Kiley entered the race himself.

He earned the endorsement of the original recall petitioners and many of the recall volunteers, but in the end won only 3.5% of the replacement vote, falling behind five other candidates, including two Democrats.

Kiley might have a knack for slamming Democrats in the state Capitol, but Jones has his own reputation among Sacramento-area Republicans.

First elected in 2010, then reelected in 2014 and 2018, Jones was one of several California sheriffs to refuse to enforce county and statewide COVID-19 directives. Weeks later, Jones himself tested positive for the virus.

In his campaign, Jones touts himself as a leader who guided the department through financial crises, recruit diverse officers, and engage with the community. He also describes himself as one of the “foremost experts on law enforcement in California.”

In the spring primary election, Jones will also face Democrat Dr. Kermit Jones, a doctor and veteran from Roseville.

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