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Rep. Dan Lungren is stepping up his re-election efforts this week, raising cash, recruiting volunteers and holding town hall meetings in his Sacramento County district.

The Gold River Republican faces a rematch with his 2010 challenger, Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera, in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District. A close voter registration split and high turnout in the presidential election are expected to make the race one of the most competitive congressional elections of the year.

Lungren, who has trailed his opponent in campaign cash both this election and in 2010, got some help from Republican leadership for a Monday fundraiser in Sacramento. House Speaker John Boehner flew into town for yesterday afternoon's reception at the California Chamber of Commerce's downtown office. A photo with the Ohio Republican set attendees back $5,000, according to a posting on Capitol Morning Report.

Lungren, meanwhile, took a shot at Democratic congressional leadership in a Monday email seeking money and volunteer commitments from supporters.

"Nancy Pelosi is already pouring money into the district, and every dollar helps," read a Lungren campaign email titled "The campaign begins today."

Pelosi, the Democratic leader, has identified flipping the seat as a top priority in her effort to win back control of the House. House Majority PAC, an independent campaign committee supporting House Democrats, has already been on the air with television ads opposing Lungren.

Lungren is also holding town hall meetings this week in Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Angels Camp. The first event is tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Citrus Heights Community Center.

Lungren consultant Rob Stutzman said the campaign is "preparing for a huge battle" with this week's events.

"Pelosi has to beat Lungren to retake the Speaker's gavel," he wrote in an email. "We're not going to show up with padded gloves."

Friday was the deadline for candidates to file for the east Sacramento County seat, which stretches from Elk Grove to Citrus Heights. A full list of candidates was not immediately available, but Lungren and Bera, a doctor and former Associate Dean for Admissions at the UC Davis School of Medicine, will likely face off both in the June primary and the November general election under the state's new top-two primary system.


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