The Republican field in California’s competitive 7th District is poised to grow after Labor Day, with two prospective candidates planning to make announcements about the race.
Former Rep. Doug Ose, a Republican who represented a large portion of the redrawn 7th District from 1999 until 2005, is expected to make an announcement on his plans for the race after Labor Day, according to a source close to Ose’s campaign. The source would not confirm whether Ose plans to run, but other operatives in the Golden State say Ose is likely to enter the race.
Another Republican, Igor Birman, who currently serves as chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., is also expected to make an announcement on the race in September.
Republican Elizabeth Emken, who has waged two unsuccessful congressional bids in California in 2010 and 2012, has already announced she will challenge freshman Rep. Ami Bera.
Both parties expect the 7th District will prove to be one of the cycle’s most competitive House contests. Bera won the district by a slim 2-point margin in 2012.
But a three-way Republican primary could get ugly for the party. What's more, the Club for Growth has indicated that it will likely get involved in the contest if Ose chooses to run.
In 2008, the Club for Growth helped defeat Ose in a primary when he attempted to come back to Congress. Ose ultimately lost to McClintock.
Multiple GOP strategists said a bitter Republican primary could hurt the party's chances of picking up this seat. President Barack Obama carried the 7th District by a 4-point margin in 2012.
The 7th District is rated a Lean Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.