The Republican formally announced her campaign in a letter sent to her donors on Thursday, spokesman Mark Standriff said.
Former congressman Doug Ose also seems likely to join the field of Republicans contending for Bera's seat in California's 7th Congressional District.
Standriff said Thursday that Emken has closed on a house in Fair Oaks in order to run in the district.
In a statement posted on her website, Emken said her decision to run for Congress came from "the need to send someone to Washington who understands the struggles of our families and who is concerned about the direction of our country -- and our government."
Emken ran last year against the longtime incumbent, Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein, but came up short at the polls.
Emken has also championed autism research, serving as vice president for government relations at the advocacy organization Autism Speaks.
PHOTO: Then Republican Senate candidate Elizabeth Emken speaks during a news conference in Sacramento on April 10, 2012. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli