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

During 2013, Ruiz collected more than $1.5 million in contributions, much of it from outside California, not just from his mountain and desert district. In preparations for the 2014 campaign, he is significantly ahead of his 2012 war chest when he received a total of $1.9 million in campaign funding.

For instance, through December, 10 months before Election Day, Ruiz has collected more than $500,000 from political committees compared to $422,000 for the entire 2012 election campaign.

Nestande has been the assumed Republican nominee for months, although former Assemblyman Ray Haynes has expressed some interest in the race. Through December, Nestande’s total contributions of $452,000 are less than a third of Ruiz’s contributions. Nestande has received 10 times the contributions ($409,000) from individuals than from party or political-action committees.

Ruiz has received more than 200 contributions of $2,000 or more compared to about 50 for Nestande. While most of Ruiz’s benefactors are Californians, including many from district residents, he has received substantial contributions from Texans and East Coast residents.

More than 30 of Ruiz’s donations of $5,000 were received through December. 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.

At the end of 2013, Ruiz had more than $1.2 million in cash available, while Nestande has $300,000 in cash for his challenge to Ruiz. That will dwindle if Haynes decides to enter the primary.

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 Dec. 31, 2013

Contributions Total Cash
Individual Committee Available
Ruiz $981,000 $518,250 $1,198,000
Nestande $409,300 $41,800 $301,800