Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande announced his campaign last week for California’s 36th Congressional District which includes the Hill.

Democrat Dr. Raul Ruiz is the Hill’s current congressman, having defeated incumbent Mary Bono Mack in the 2012 election.

“My focus is small businesses, which produce 90 percent of the new jobs,” Nestande said. Four out of five new businesses are founded by minorities, including women, he added.

To promote his campaign, Nestande will walk the district and listen to constituents. On Tuesday, Oct. 15, he began his listening tour in Banning and will walk one city each month. “It was great insight to the needs of entrepreneurs. We have to reward hard work. Right now it’s tilted against them,” Nestande said.

“I have seen first-hand how overreaching government policies are hurting California families,” said Nestande. “This government shutdown is the perfect example of why Washington needs fresh voices and perspectives to move our country forward.”

Nestande represented Idyllwild in the State Assembly from 2008 through 2012. After the 2010 redistricting, Idyllwild was moved to Assembly District 71 for the 2012 election. But Idyllwild is in California’s 36th Congressional District.

Ruiz campaign balance dwarfs Nestande’s

In November 2012, Rep. Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-36) was elected to Congress and intends to stay there. In an expensive, multi-million dollar contest, Ruiz unseated incumbent Mary Bono Mack and this year faces State Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R 42).

Since January, Ruiz has collected more than $1.1 million in contributions, not just from his mountain and desert district but much of it from outside of California. In preparations for 2014, he is significantly ahead of his 2012 war chest, which totaled $1.9 million.

Nestande, who was the assumed Republican nominee for months, announced his formal campaign last week. He has received $220,000 in contributions, most from individuals.

Through Sept. 30, more than a year before the ballots are cast, political committees have given Ruiz’s campaign almost $475,000 compared to $422,000 for the entire 2012 election campaign.

Besides various medical associations, such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Family Physicians Political Action Committee, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons PAC and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons PAC, Ruiz has been a major beneficiary of the Democratic Congressional Coordinating Committee and other political committees. The DCCC has given nearly $15,000 and AMERIPAC has contributed $6,000.

At the end of September 2011, Ruiz had just about $50,000 in cash. Now he has more than 17 times that amount and it will grow next year. Nestande had $150,000 in cash available at the end of September.

At this point in the campaign-funding race, Nestande has received about $6 from individuals for every $1 from a political or corporate committee. When asked about Ruiz’s committee sources, Nestande said, “I’m going in a different direction. I’m raising more money in the district than outside. I’ll raise money within the district because I already know it better than [Ruiz] does.”

Nestande represents local cities such as Hemet to Palm Springs and Palm Desert. Before the redistricting, he represented Idyllwild and the Hill, too. Being first elected in 2008, his six years in the Assembly prevents him from seeking re-election.


2014 Congressional District 36

Campaign contributions and cash as of Sept. 30, 2013



                  Individual          Committee             Total Cash Available

Ruiz           $660,500               $473,250                          $876,000*

Nestande $191,200                  $30,100                           $150,600

* Ruiz has spent $360,000 of the $1.1 million; Nestande has spent $71,000.