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Nunes.jpgWith a year to go until the 2012 general election, a serious challenger to Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has yet to emerge.

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes is floating the possibility that he'll throw his hat in the ring to run against the 78-year-old incumbent senator next year.

The Visalia Republican, who is running TV ads targeting Feinstein in his Central Valley congressional district, told The Desert Sun that he is seriously considering a bid:

"Could it be me? Sure," he says. "There would have to be a lot of things to fall in place."

For one, Nunes says, he would have to be convinced it was worth the risk of giving up his eight years of seniority in the House, plus his positions on the Ways and Means and Intelligence committees.

"I would have to look at what's best for the valley," says Nunes, who just turned 38.

Nunes rarely minces words when discussing Feinstein, having once called her "a liar" and saying, "She is either held hostage by extremists or she is an extremist."

Feinstein political strategist William Carrick fired back, "I don't think we've ever had anybody on either side of the aisle as unstable as he is."

Nunes reported having roughly $1.35 million in campaign cash in the bank as of September 30. Feinstein recently gave her re-election account a $5 million personal loan to make up for cash allegedly stolen by former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee.

Click here to read the full Desert Sun story.

UPDATE: The Bee's Michael Doyle reports that Nunes' staff says he isn't planning to run for U.S. Senate:

"Devin is running for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives, period," said the congressman's chief of staff, Johnny Amaral. "He's not running for the Senate."

Pressed as to whether this means Nunes is definitively ruling out a future challenge to Feinstein, Amaral repeated that "the reality is, he's not running" for the Senate.

Read that full story here.

PHOTO CREDIT: Congressman Devin Nunes addresses a question during a 2009 health care reform meeting at Clovis East High. John Walker/The Fresno Bee.



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