Doug Ose pondering race against Rep. Ami Bera next year

Published: Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013 - 10:29 am

Former Republican Rep. Doug Ose is considering a return to Congress by challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in 2014.

The Sacramento Republican, who left Congress in 2005 and lost a primary bid for another seat in 2008, said he and his wife are "deliberating on it but have not made a final decision" on seeking the 7th Congressional District seat.

"It's very easy to say 'I'm going to run for Congress,' but having done it four times now, it's not a simple task," he said. "There's a lot that goes into it."

Bera unseated incumbent GOP Rep. Dan Lungren last year in one of the state's closest and most expensive House races. The 2014 race for the seat is expected to be a top priority for both Democrats and Republicans, given the narrow registration gap in the east Sacramento County district.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has been on the offensive for weeks, blasting the Elk Grove Democrat on everything from gas prices to the sequestration in emails and new Web ads.

Democrats acknowledged the freshman's vulnerable status this week, naming Bera to a list of 26 incumbents the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to protect.

Ose said he's been encouraged to run by local business people, as well as elected officials. His interest, he said, comes from his own disappointment in the state of affairs in Washington and throughout the country.

"Neither my wife nor I are happy with the way things are, It's not anything more than that," Ose said. "My wife and I, when we're not happy with something we either go out and try to change it or we drop the subject and we move on to something else."

Ose, a developer, represented much of the area covered by the 7th Congressional District for three terms. He was succeeded by Lungren in 2005, after stepping down to fulfill a pledge he made to serve just three terms. He later lost a 2008 primary bid to represent what was then the 4th Congressional District.

Ose, who is registered to vote at a home just outside the 7th Congressional District, isn't the only Republican weighing a run. Elizabeth Emken, a former nonprofit executive who ran for U.S. Senate last year, is considering moving from her home in Danville to the Sacramento area to jump in the race. State Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, is also considering the race.

Call Torey Van Oot, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5544.

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