Emken self-funded in 2010, but won’t vs. DiFi

Elizabeth Emken, the Danville Republican who yesterday announced her bid to challenge U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein next year, must be hoping this campaign will be a better financial bet than her last one.

Emken, 48, ran in the June 2010 GOP primary for what was then the 11th Congressional District seat. She came in fourth in a field of four; the nominee was David Harmer, who then lost the general election to incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Campaign finance reports show Emken had loaned her primary campaign $300,000 – 54 percent of her campaign’s $556,000 in total receipts – but only ever got back $100,000 of that. Another $408,000 went to operating expenses, and the final $48,000 – which had been contributed for use in the general election – was refunded to those who gave it. That campaign committee shut down in September 2010.

Feinstein, 78, is worth about $69 million, making her the 12th-richest member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Though her $9.2 million campaign nest egg might’ve been decimated by the embezzlement of now-disgraced campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, there’s little doubt that she can both afford to ante up a lot from her own pocket and raise a great deal from others at the drop of a hat.

“Elizabeth is not planning to self-finance this campaign. We’re focused on building a broad foundation of support,” Tim Clark, Emken’s campaign spokesman, said this afternoon.

“Elizabeth has tremendous appeal among California voters, particularly among those who want a more efficient, more effective government, and a thriving job market,” he said. “Feinstein has had 20 years to show Californians what she can do. Her votes have contributed to the inexcusable government debt and the excessive regulatory climate that is now a drag on our economy. Californians are ready for change. I have no doubt that Elizabeth will have the resources necessary to get her message out.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.