Elizabeth Emken, a 2010 Republican congressional candidate and a national advocate for children with autism, has launched a campaign for Dianne Feinstein's U.S. Senate job.
Emken has created a website asserting that voters want a new senator because they believe the current incumbent has failed. "Now, more than ever, America needs a new direction in Washington," Emken, 48, says on her website.
Emken finished fourth out of four in the 2010 GOP primary for the House seat held by incumbent Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.
Emken said she left corporate America after her son, now 19, was diagnosed with autism. She most recently served as vice president of governmental relations for Autism Speaks, a national nonprofit organization that bills itself as the cause's largest U.S. advocacy group.
Feinstein consultant Bill Carrick downplayed Emken's challenge in an interview with the Bee, saying her showing in the congressional race shows she probably won't be able to "make the transition to a statewide race."