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Former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose plans to formally announce this afternoon that he will challenge freshman Democrat Ami Bera in the 7th Congressional District.

The Sacramento Republican, who lost a primary bid three years ago after stepping aside from Congress in 2005, is scheduled to talk about his candidacy in the 3 p.m. hour of the John McGinness Show, KFBK AM 1530 in Sacramento.

The 7th district is again expected to produce one of the most competitive and expensive congressional races in the nation. Democrats enjoy a roughly two-percentage point edge in registered voters in the newly-drawn district.

The Ose campaign has been quick to point out that the new district constitutes about three-quarters of the area he represented for three terms. The campaign touted Ose's strong name identification and said an internal poll found him running strongest among the most conservative voters in the district.

Fulfilling a pledge, Ose stepped down and was succeeded by Dan Lungren in 2005. He lost a primary bid to represent the old 4th District in 2008.

Bera, who bested Lungren in a bruising contest last fall, is among the most vulnerable Democrats in the House. National Republicans have been targeting the Elk Grove physician virtually from the day he was sworn into office.

Ose is not the only Republican eyeing Bera's seat.

Eizabeth Emken, a former nonprofit executive who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate last year, announced her candidacy earlier this summer. Igor Birman, Rep. Tom McClintock's chief of staff, will announce his entry into the race at event in Folsom later in the week.

PHOTO: Then-GOP congressional candidate Doug Ose arrives at an election night party in Loomis on June 3, 2008. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

Editor's note: This post was updated at 2:18 p.m. Tuesday to reflect Igor Birman's planned announcement.



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