California's 7th Congressional District Race 2014: ABC News' '14 For '14'

PHOTO: Rep. Ami Bera, poses for a photo at his campaign office in Elk Grove, Calif., Oct. 26, 2012.

ABC News' "14 For 14" project is documenting 14 races that matter between now and November. This page will be updated throughout the year. See the full list of 2014 midterm election contests the ABC News political team is tracking.

THE PLAYERS

Rep. Ami Bera
Democrat
Freshman member of Congress.
Age: 48 (born: March 2, 1965)

Doug Ose
Republican
Former member of Congress from California's 3rd Congressional District (1999-2005).
Age: 58 (born: born June 27, 1955)

Igor Birman
Republican
Former chief of Staff to Rep. Tom McClintock.

Elizabeth Emken
Republican
Unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate nominee.
Age: 50 (born: April 4, 1963)

THE STAKES

Democrats badly want to keep this seat, and Republicans badly want to win it back. The result is likely to be one of the most brawling battles of political tug-of-war in the country. This northern California district was so evenly divided during the 2012 election cycle that the eventual winner, Ami Bera, showed up for House freshman orientation in Washington, DC while a recount was still ongoing back home. Bera, a medical doctor, is seeking a second term during a year when the clumsy rollout of Obamacare is topping the list of Republican talking points. California may be a solid blue state, but make no mistake, this is the swingiest of the state's swing districts with a nearly even split between registered Democrats and Republicans.

THE OUTLOOK

This true toss-up race in a district just east of Sacramento stretching into the foothills of Lake Tahoe will undoubtedly be one of the most competitive and expensive House contests. Three Republicans are vying for the opportunity to take on Bera, the Democratic incumbent: Doug Ose, a former congressman; Igor Birman, a Tea Party-allied former Congressional chief of staff; and Elizabeth Emken, an advocate for autism causes who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2012. Of the three, Ose appears to have the best chance of clearing the primary hurdle. If he does, it will be a summer and fall of hand-to-hand combat with Bera, who began the year with a significant fundraising advantage over all of his potential GOP rivals.

ABC NEWS RATING

Toss-up

KEY DATES

June 3, 2014: Party primaries

November 4, 2014: General election
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