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U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has yet to attract a top-tier opponent in her 2012 re-election bid.

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro signaled today that a high-profile GOP challenger to the 78-year-old Democrat could still emerge. He said a "number of people" have expressed interest in the race, with final decisions expected in the coming weeks.

"Right now, point blank, there isn't someone, a major name that has agreed to it," he said in an interview with The Bee Capitol Bureau.

"But I think her polls show that she is vulnerable, and we are hoping to find someone who will break out of the pack," he added. "But as of yet, point blank, I'm not going to snow you, we don't have someone who has made it clear, who is head and shoulders above the rest or a very prominent name."

Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez became the latest Republican to express interest in the race this week. Ramirez, who ran in the GOP Senate primary last year, announced yesterday that he is opening an exploratory committee and starting to raise money for a run.

Ramirez said that while he is "fairly called a long shot-challenger," he believes the new top-two primary system will help him in his effort to become the state's first Hispanic U.S. senator.

"Hispanic voters, Republicans and Independents understand faith, family and hard work," he said in a statement. "We should come together to uphold the values of freedom that make America great, but there hasn't been a voice to speak to and for each of these sides. It is a void I believe I can fill to put California back on the right track."

Other Republicans currently expected to run are Elizabeth Emken , an advocate for children with autism and 2010 congressional candidate, and Orly Taitz, an activist perhaps best known for her disproved assertions that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen.



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