Ruiz Cruises into November Runoff for His Congressional Seat

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, was preparing Wednesday for a November runoff, in which he will square off with Republican businesswoman Erin Cruz.

Ruiz easily topped the four-candidate field in Tuesday’s election in his bid to retain the 36th Congressional District seat.

“I’m honored to be winning support from such a large majority of voters in the district, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents,” Ruiz said in a statement. “I hope to continue earning their support by doing what I have been doing all along: putting public service ahead of partisan politics, fighting for affordable health care and ensuring that retirees and veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned.”

The district covers an area stretching from San Jacinto to the west and Blythe to the east. Ruiz, a physician, snatched the district from Republican Mary Bono in an upset win in 2012, and has since secured multiple double-digit reelection victories.

Cruz finished in a distant second place, but she paced well ahead of the other two GOP contestants, Milo Stevanovich and Patrice Kimbler.

Meanwhile, the race to represent the 42nd Assembly District, which encompasses parts of both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, includes a Democrat, a Republican and an incumbent who identifies as neither.

Assemblyman Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, who has represented the district since 2014, appeared to be on pace to advance to the November runoff. Mayes defected from the GOP in December. Days later, the California Republican Party Board of Directors rescinded its endorsement of the incumbent, saying in a statement, “Chad has let the Republican Party down just as he let down the voters of California.”

Mayes sought to explain his rationale for departing the party, and while not taking a direct swipe at President Donald Trump, he referenced national “political discord.”

“Really simply: It’s because of my frustration with the way our political system is working today,” Mayes wrote.

He ran Tuesday without a party preference. With votes still being tallied, Mayes was holding a narrow lead over a Republican challenger, San Jacinto Mayor Andrew Kotyuk.

Kotyuk is “not only a true patriot, but a strong supporter of President Trump’s fight against the liberal socialists who would destroy our American economy,” according to his campaign website.

On the Democratic side, Hemet lawyer DeniAntionette Mazingo was close behind Kotyuk, still hoping to overtake him and earn the second spot on the November runoff ballot. She has notched a host of high-profile endorsements, including California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, state Controller Betty Yee and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

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