Republican Elizabeth Emken secured a runoff spot in Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary, winning the chance to go head to head with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November.
The Danville Republican was one of 23 candidates challenging the longtime Democratic senator on the primary ballot.
Emken led the pack with 12 percent of the vote in the "top two primary" free-for-all that allowed voters to choose among candidates of all political leanings.
Emken, a longtime advocate for children with autism, edged out a field of mostly unknown and underfunded Republican rivals to win the state party's endorsement ahead of the primary.
Republican businessman Dan Hughes, a first-time candidate, came in third with 6 percent of the vote....
Emken, whose 19-year-old adult son is autistic, has spent the last 15 years working as an advocate focused on the condition.
Her recent work as the vice president for government relations for the national nonprofit Autism Speaks sparked attacks from GOP rivals, who said the nonprofit's work to shape the federal health care overhaul conflicted with Emken's stated opposition to the law.An interview with Emken: