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A recent California Business Roundtable/Pepperdine University poll showed that Feinstein had widened her lead to almost 23 points.
to pick off a less popular Democratic incumbent senator, Barbara Boxer, just two years ago.
"I just don't get it," Emken said. "You know what they want in the Central Valley? They want water.
Dianne Feinstein's challenger toils on against all odds
day because I do believe in the process," she said in a recent interview a few miles from her Danville home.
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It's a tribute to Feinstein that deep pocketed, recognizably named Republicans don't dare take her on, Gerston said. "She's one of the very few who has found that moderation works," pleasing liberals on issues such as environmental protection and gun control while not angering conservatives as much as many of her Democratic peers do.
"By 2020, the mileage will be 50 miles per gallon because of that bill," she said. "It's a huge saving of oil, a huge saving of funds for taxpayers and, of course, a reduction of pollution in the air."
But Emken contends Feinstein lacks the people skills to be the people's senator. She rarely meets with constituents, holds few news conferences and only recently had a staffer start tweeting for her, Emken said.
"If Feinstein drops dead, I think she would have a chance,'' Gerston said before quickly adding:
Pick your metaphor. has heard them all and doesn't like any of them. Sen. is futile.
Emken faults Feinstein for letting the 2009 stimulus package pass with so little earmarked for infrastructure particularly for California's struggling water system yet pushing to expedite the state's high speed rail project, starting with a stretch in a remote area of the Central Valley.
Also, Emken's fundraising has been anemic. Feinstein's campaign, despite having lost millions to campaign treasurer Kindee Durkee's embezzlement, had almost $3.1 million in cash on hand as of June 30, while Emken's had about $27,000.
The California Republican Party's endorsement might've helped Emken reach that level of primary support, anointing her from among a GOP crowd that also included a surfing rabbi; an attorney dentist active in the "birther" movement that questions President Barack Obama's citizenship; and an 83 year old man who scaled California's highest mountain as a metaphor for his campaign.
"Feinstein doesn't interact with the people at all, and I think it breeds cynicism," she said.
"I have a vast legislative knowledge, I've been a student of the process for 15 years," Emken said. "What has done? . I'll put my legislative background up against hers any day."
Her name isn't on nearly as many bills as her fingerprints are, Gerston said. "For the most part, she's a behind the scenes kind of player who tries to bring sides together and often does so," he said.
Contra Costa County GOP chairwoman Becky Kolberg, of San Ramon, said what she admires most about Emken is "her energy, her doggedness in approaching this, her optimism" especially considering that Fiorina, a better known and better funded Republican, was unable Purple Air Max 2016
She noted that while working for autism nonprofits, she shepherded bills through Congress in 2000 and 2006 that focused federal attention and resources on researching, detecting and treating the disorder.
What she is, she said, is an ordinary person: the mom of a severely autistic 20 year old son; a spouse who, like her husband, has worked to pay their mortgage; a level headed businesswoman aspiring to public service. "Everything in my background says I'll do what I say I will," she said.
And this past week, a Republican slate mailer company sued her for breach of contract, claiming she still owed $65,000 yet had used campaign funds to repay a $200,000 personal loan she made to her campaign in the spring. Her spokesman said it's a pending legal matter that must be left to attorneys and the court.
"No, even if that happened, Feinstein would still probably win."
DANVILLE David vs. Goliath. Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Climbing Everest without a Sherpa.
She said she's also proud of her Intelligence Committee chairmanship: Since 2009 she has built bipartisan support for budget bills and investigations of controversial interrogation techniques and drone warfare.
Emken said being an incumbent and good fundraiser doesn't mean you're the best for the job.
In a phone interview last week, Feinstein said one of her proudest accomplishments this year was legislation requiring the government to issue stringent fuel economy standards for cars.
But there's little doubt as to whom the public sees as the heroine Katniss here, and Emken's tireless campaigning and tweeting hasn't improved her standing.
Emken said she has a fighting chance. But San Jose State University political science professor Larry Gerston respectfully disagrees.
odds in California certainly are against us; we've seen our registration eaten away gradually," but having an Energizer bunnylike candidate such as Emken helps buoy Republican campaign volunteers and energize voters, Kolberg said.
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Gerston said that when you come out of the primary with 12.6 percent of the GOP vote as Emken did, "you're not going to get very far."
She offered her own metaphor, likening June's "top two" primary in which she beat out 22 other contenders to join Feinstein on Nike Air Max Wright the general election ballot to "The Hunger Games": Twenty four went into the forest and only two emerged.
"I'm not a millionaire, a billionaire, a CEO or a movie star," Emken said in the interview, before the lawsuit was filed, referring to recent statewide GOP candidates such as Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nor is this her first campaign; she finished fourth among four in 2010's GOP primary for East Bay Rep. Jerry McNerney's seat.
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