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"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dianne Feinstein picks up a GOP challenger

With less than a year to go until the November 2012 election, a GOP challenger to Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has emerged reports the Sacramento Bee.

Elizabeth Emken, a longtime advocate for children with autism and 2010 congressional candidate, has decided to run against the incumbent Democrat next year, announcing her candidacy on her campaign website and the conservative blog Flashreport.org.

"She's definitely in and we're putting together the campaign now," campaign consultant Tim Clark said in an interview.

Emken, 48, most recently served as vice president of governmental relations for Autism Speaks, a national nonprofit organization that bills itself as the cause's largest U.S. advocacy group. The Danville Republican, whose 19-year-old son is autistic, previously worked as a legislative consultant and board member for Cure Autism Now, another nonprofit advocacy group that merged with Autism Speaks in 2007. Clark said she also worked in what he called an "efficiency manager" role for IBM Corporation.

"I'm running for U.S. Senate because my children need me to," Emken, who Clark declined to make available for an interview, wrote in a guest post on FlashReport, which first reported the news of her bid. "The massive government debt, the lack of resolve to control spending, and excessive government regulation threaten to fundamentally change the American way of life. I'm not going to let that happen, at least not without a fight."

Emken loaned her 2010 campaign for the 11th Congressional District $300,000, according to federal campaign records, but placed last in the four-way GOP primary with 16.7 percent of the votes cast Clark said he expects Emken, who has launched a campaign website and opened a federal committee to raise money for her new bid, to focus on cultivating a "broad based group of donors" instead of tapping into personal funds to fuel her bid.
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