Ron Unz, the conservative critic of bilingual education who in recent years has championed incrementally increasing the statewide minimum wage, said Wednesday he will enter California’s crowded race for U.S. Senate.
Unz, a candidate for governor against fellow Republican Pete Wilson in 1994, said his chief motivation for mounting the uphill challenge is to help raise awareness about a fall ballot measure that would largely overturn his voter-approved Proposition 227, the 1998 initiative requiring schools to teach in English.
“Believe me, this was a last-minute decision,” Unz said by phone. He plans an unorthodox campaign in which he will ask donors to contribute no more than $99. “I never considered getting back into California politics.”
But the fact that GOP lawmakers joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to place the repeal before voters “just shows how worthless the Republicans are,” said Unz, adding he has a pro-immigrant background. The Legislature’s action two years ago was “just the sort of total idiocy that explains the disgust most voters have with the establishment politicians of both parties.”