Doug Ose, a former House member, announced his 7th District candidacy Tuesday on a radio talk show. "I know this district," he said.

Republican Doug Ose to challenge Democrat Ami Bera for California House seat

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 - 7:45 am

Former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose said Tuesday he plans to challenge freshman Democrat Ami Bera in the 7th Congressional District.

The Sacramento Republican, who lost a primary bid three years ago after stepping aside from Congress in 2005, formally announced his campaign as a guest on the afternoon "John McGinness Show" on KFBK (1530 AM) in Sacramento.

"I am running because this is my home and I know this district," Ose said. "The issues here are very, very straightforward."

Ose said the economy remains sluggish largely because of the policies of the Obama administration. Most of the job growth is in part-time employment, yet elected leaders continue to tout the recovery while recent college graduates have to settle for low-wage positions, Ose said.

"That is not success," he said.

The 7th District is again expected to produce one of the most competitive and expensive congressional races in the nation. Democrats enjoy a voter registration edge of roughly 2 percentage points in the newly drawn district.

Ose's campaign suggested the candidate has strong name identification and said an internal poll found him running strongest among the most conservative voters in the district.

The campaign was also quick to point out that the new district constitutes about three-quarters of the area he represented for three terms.

Fulfilling a pledge, Ose stepped down and was succeeded by Dan Lungren in 2005. He lost a primary bid to represent the old 4th Congressional District in 2008.

Bera, who bested Lungren in a bruising contest last fall, is among the most vulnerable Democrats in the House. National Republicans have long been targeting the Elk Grove physician.

A spokeswoman for Bera did not return a message seeking comment.

Ose is not the only Republican eyeing the race.

Elizabeth Emken, a former nonprofit executive who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein last year, announced her candidacy earlier this summer. She moved from Contra Costa County to Fair Oaks to run for the seat.

Igor Birman, chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, said he is preparing to announce his entry into the race at an event Thursday in Folsom.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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