Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R -45) is preparing to defend her seat, California’s redrawn 36th Congressional District. While redistricting has stripped southwest Riverside County Republican support from her district, she still remains a strong fundraiser.

Through the first nine months of 2011, Bono Mack had already received nearly $450,000 in contributions. After expenses and with a carryover from her 2010 campaign, the local congresswoman has $436,000 available more than a year before the election.

Her only announced challenger, Democrat Dr. Raul Ruiz, a Palm Desert physician, has a cash balance of $52,000, barely one-ninth of Bono Mack’s coffer. While desert Democrats see an opportunity to unseat the seven-term representative, as of Sept. 30, they have not yet opened their wallets for the latest challenge.

In the 2010 campaign, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet raised more than $1.8 million in his challenge. As of October 2009 he had raised more than $410,000 and had nearly $350,000 cash available. Nevertheless, on Nov. 2, 2010, election day, he trailed Bono Mack by 19,000 votes out of more than 200,000.

Her campaign coffers exceeded $2.4 million and she spent almost $2.5 million.

Since January 2011, Bono Mack has garnered 10 donations of $5,000 and a total of 68 donations of $1,000 or more. Ruiz has 17 contributions equal to or greater than $1,000. While $2,500 is the limit, donors can give both to a primary and general election for a total of $5,000 in an election cycle

Bono Mack has received significant assistance from outside California. Nearly a third of her individual donations are from these sources.

Much of this should be attributed to her seniority. With the Republican ascendancy to the House leadership, this year, for the first time, Bono Mack is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

2012 Congressional District 36 Campaign contributions and cash as of Sept. 30, 2011

Individual contributions Total available
Bono Mack $195,569 $436,568
Ruiz $40,695 $51,925