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igorbirman.jpgIgor Birman, Rep. Tom McClintock's chief of staff, is thinking about joining the field of Republican challengers vying for Democratic Rep. Ami Bera's seat in 2014.

Birman, 31, said he has an exploratory committee looking at the possibility of a run in the 7th Congressional District, and the reception so far has been "very favorable."

"Having been active in Republican politics in California since my college days, everything I've heard has been encouraging," Birman said.

After Birman and his family emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1994, he lived in the Sacramento area and attended UC Davis. He cited his experience as an immigrant as his motivation to go into politics.

"My parents risked their lives and everything they possessed to escape (the Soviet Union) and eventually they did. I want to preserve the same freedom we found in this nation for other families," Birman said. "That's what has led me into politics and that's what has led me to consider this race."

If he runs and wins in 2014, Birman said he thinks he would be the first Russian American member of Congress. He is currently registered to vote in Oakland, but said he would move back into the district if he decides to run. Birman said he would announce his decision around Labor Day.

The 2014 race in the 7th Congressional District is expected to be one of the most contentious in the state. Less than one percentage point separates the Democratic and Republican party registration numbers in the district that includes Folsom, Rancho Cordova, and Elk Grove.

Past U.S. Senate candidate and autism activist Elizabeth Emken announced her candidacy a few weeks ago. Former Rep. Doug Ose has also said he is considering the possibility of running in the district.

PHOTO: Rep. Tom McClintock's chief of staff Igor Birman. Photo courtesy Igor Birman.


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