GOP challenger Michael Babich emerges for McClintock’s seat | SierraSun.com

GOP challenger Michael Babich emerges for McClintock’s seat

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Courtesy PhotoMichael Babich

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Tom McClintock’s first challenger comes from inside his own party for the 2010 congressional elections.

Michael Babich, of Auburn, intends to run as a Republican in the California 4th Congressional District (which includes the Truckee/Tahoe region), where Rep. McClintock, R-Elk Grove, currently holds the seat.

Babich, the vice-president of a medical firm, said his aim is to give the voters more choices.

“Why do we keep hiring these politicians that simply vote yes or no – anyone can fall in line, but what’s beyond a simple conservative vote?” Babich said.

Babich said he voted for McClintock in the last election.

“Obviously we have a lot of overlap,” Babich said.

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But he differentiates himself from McClintock in experience, calling McClintock a career politician, and contrasting that to his experience in the Army, where he rose to the rank of colonel; his experience in academia, where he earned a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences; and in business.

“Why run? Why not? Democracy is best when it’s exercised,” Babich said. “A relatively weak presidential Candidate, McCain, took the district by 10 points, so I think he (McClintock) should have won by 20, but for a while it was a virtual tie (with Democratic candidate Charlie Brown). That raises some questions.”

McClintock declined to comment on Babich and the upcoming race.

Democratic hopefuls have not yet surfaced, according to several sources aligned with the party at the state and national level.

However, the sources expected a Democrat to file during the official candidacy declaration period, from Feb. 16 to March 12.

The Fourth District spot was dominated for nine terms by Republican John Doolittle. Doolittle beat political newcomer Charlie Brown by a mere 9,000 votes in a close 2006 race that proved his seat was vulnerable.

The narrow victory came on the heels of news Doolittle was being investigated for alleged influence-peddling with now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Although no charges were ever filed, Doolittle decided to not run for a tenth term when Brown challenged him a second time and it became clear his seat was vulnerable in the once iron-clad GOP district.

McClintock ran in 2008, smashing Doug Ose in the Republican primary. He then barely squeaked by Brown in the general election with less than 2,000 votes to spare.

– Dave Moller, Sun news service contributed to this report.