California: Ex-Rep. Ose May Challenge Freshman Bera

Bera, above, could face a 2014 challenge from Ose, a former member of Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Republican Rep. Doug Ose told the Sacramento Bee that he is considering a challenge to freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif.

"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," Ose told the newspaper. "There's a lot that goes into it."

The Sacramento-area 7th District became one of the most competitive in California after an independent redistricting commission redrew the lines in 2011. Bera toppled former GOP Rep. Dan Lungren last year by a little more than 3 points, and is now included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's incumbent retention program.

Bera, who lost his first challenge to Lungren in 2010 before the lines were redrawn, is a strong fundraiser; he outspent Lungren by some $800,000 last cycle. Still, he is a top target for Republicans.

Lungren succeeded Ose in the House in 2004, when Ose declined to seek a fourth term. Ose ran in a neighboring district in 2008, but lost to now-Rep. Tom McClintock in the GOP primary.

Another potential opponent for the freshman Democrat is Elizabeth Emken, an autism activist and former Republican candidate for both the House and Senate — including a loss last year to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Emken spokesman Mark Standriff confirmed an earlier Sacramento Bee report that Emken is looking at the race, but he said she was just testing the waters for now and that no announcement is imminent.

Update 3:00 p.m.: The Sacramento Bee also reported on Thursday that state Sen. Ted Gaines is "seriously considering" running.