Ami Bera Draws Third GOP Challenger | #CA07 (Updated)

Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:26pm

Updated 4:38 p.m. | Igor Birman, chief of staff to California GOP Rep. Tom McClintock, announced Thursday that he is running in California’s 7th District. That makes Birman the third Republican looking to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera.

Birman, an immigrant who came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Soviet Union in 1994, joins former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., and Elizabeth Emken in the crowded, open primary in this competitive district.

“I want to ensure that the same American Dream that brought us here is secure for future generations,” Birman said in a release. “I am very troubled that many in Washington cling to policies that have put it in great jeopardy. So I’m running for Congress because I believe that our children and grandchildren deserve better.”

California’s 7th District is a competitive seat, and is a target for Republicans in 2014.

In 2012, Bera ousted Republican Rep. Dan Lungren in one of the closest contests of the cycle. President Barack Obama carried the district with 51 percent that same year.

Outside groups could play a pivotal role in this contest. In 2008, the Club for Growth helped defeat Ose in a primary as he looked to return to Congress.

The club would not say definitively whether it would get involved in this race, but spokesman Barney Keller said in July that Ose “is no friend to the pro-growth cause” and “if he were to run for Congress, we’d look at seeking out a viable conservative alternative.”

In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Birman said he has met with the club, but declined to comment on whether they pledged to support him in the race.

“I’ll let the club speak for themselves,” Birman said, adding that he has met with the club “many times.”

California’s 7th District is rated a Lean Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.