Michael Babich challenges fellow GOP Tom McClintock for 4th District Republican nomination

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Admitting he’s on a David vs. Goliath-type election quest, Republican Michael Babich of Auburn is mounting an early primary challenge against 4th District U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville. Babich, 54, said he believes in the potential of a grassroots effort to unseat McClintock – who is finishing his first two-year term after a lengthy career in the state Legislature representing Southern California’s Ventura County area. His campaign slogan is “We can do better.” Babich, a 10-year Auburn resident has a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Kentucky and returned to California to help develop a biopharma start-up company. Since 2001, Babich has served as vice president of Mission Therapeutics – formerly ImmvaRx – to develop cancer treatments and diagnostics. Babich cites his real-world experiences as major pluses as he takes on an incumbent who soundly defeated opponent Doug Ose in the 2008 Republican primary and then squeaked by Democratic Party candidate Charlie Brown in the subsequent congressional election. “I feel we don’t hire somebody to vote yay or nay or necessarily agree with them,” Babich said. “We hire them to get a little more creative. Today we have a group in office devoid of ideas.” Babich also pointed to his 30 years on active duty in the U.S. Army Reserve, where he rose to the rank of colonel. He cited his work as a professor at the University of Illinois and current faculty appointment with the University of California, Davis and his work as a vocational college instructor at both Sierra College and Heald College. “I’ve had 54 years of training,” Babich said. “It’s the experience that the framers of the Constitution its elected officials to have.” A self-described “open-minded conservative,” Babich has been married for 29 years. He and his wife, Lisa have a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Erin. Both attend UC Davis. Babich has started his run for office with a signature-gathering campaign. He said he’s never run for office before but that grassroots campaigns have worked in similar situations in recent elections. “It comes down to whether you like a career politician or someone with experience in the world,” Babich said. Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes had been a possible McClintock challenger but said Tuesday that he will not run. Holmes said he gave it serious thought – with the thought process including switching from Republican registration to decline-to-state status – but eventually decided against a run against the incumbent. The primary election is June 8. Candidate filing begins Feb. 16 and runs through March 12. Last day to register to vote is May 24.