Debra J. Saunders

She certainly doesn't sound like last year's big-money GOP hopefuls. "Aren't we tired of the plutocracy in this country?" Emken asked. She used her organizational and political skills not to chase away opposition but to win the state party endorsement, buy her way onto slate mailers and win the right to challenge Feinstein in November.

OK, Emken probably doesn't have a prayer. At least she may force Democrats to learn some new talking points. The standard playbook, Standriff notes, is to "demonize the Republican candidate as being an out-of-touch, wealthy 1 percenter who wants to throw Grandma off the cliff." Emken doesn't want to gut health care. She expects her son Alex to spend the rest of his life embedded in the health care system.

The GOP brand isn't selling well in California. But neither is Feinstein, who has been in Washington for 20 years. Probably she'll win, but not because Californians love her; they just hate Republicans more.

Debra J. Saunders

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