Former Secretary of State Bill Jones (search) launched his campaign for the Republican Senate nomination Thursday, invoking the recall election by saying incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (search) deserved the same fate as ousted Democratic Gov. Gray Davis (search).

Jones, a Fresno cattle rancher who spent two decades in state government before term limits forced him to step down as secretary of state in 2002, said he would go to Washington build on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's success if elected.

"While I don't pretend to have Arnold's star power ... I do share the governor's passion for putting the people's interests first." Jones said.

"Gray Davis paid the price for his fiscal mismanagement — it is time Barbara Boxer answer for her failure to represent California in state and national affairs."

As the only candidate to win statewide office and with support of many establishment Republicans, Jones enters the primary race as the presumptive front-runner. But his conservative stands, notably on abortion rights, and dismal showing in the 2002 Republican primary for governor have led many observers to doubt his ability to beat Boxer.

His rivals for the GOP nomination include former Los Altos Hills Mayor Toni Casey, anti-tax advocate Howard Kaloogian and former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin.