While not a 100-percent accurate prediction of an election, a candidate’s cash is an important contributor to their capability to triumph. In this year’s race for California’s 36th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) has a dominating and near-overwhelming cash advantage over his opponent State Sen. Jeff Stone.
As of June 30, Ruiz has more than $2 million in cash available for the final three months of the fall campaign. His Republican opponent Stone (Temecula) has $110,000 (5 percent of Ruiz’s total cash) to fund a challenge to unseat an incumbent congressman.
Ruiz was elected in 2012 when he upset former incumbent Rep. Mary Bono. In 2014, he defeated former Assemblyman Brian Nestande. For that race, Ruiz had accumulated nearly $1.9 million by the end of June 2014. By the election, he had collected more than $3.4 million and spent more than $2.4 million from July through the end of November. In 2012, when he upset Bono, his expenditures for those four months was about $1.64 million.
During the second quarter of 2016, Ruiz has raised about $430,000, which has been about his average quarterly contributions during this term. His expenses during this quarter, in which the primary was held, were $290,000.
Stone entered the race in December. Since then he has raised about $230,000 and expended about $120,000. About 90 percent of Stone’s money, thus far, has come from California residents. Less than $20,000 has come from donors outside the state.
In contrast, 40 percent of Ruiz’s fundraising comes from outside of California. His contributors come from Alaska to Maine and from Alabama to Wisconsin. Ruiz has reached out to supporters across the continent.
About 50 percent of Ruiz’s contributions have come from gifts greater than $2,000. Even a few Idyllwild residents have helped Ruiz’s campaign, but $250 was their largest contribution.
Stone’s finances, although much less than Ruiz, also are dominated by a few generous benefactors. About two-thirds of his contributors have given at least $2,000.
Of the total contributions from political committees, Ruiz has received about $550,000 from political groups based in or near the District of Columbia. For example, political action committees such as Democrats Reshaping America Political Action Committee and Democrats United to Change and Hope have given as well as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Other PACs include medical groups such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Osteopathic Information Association, and utilities such as Cox, Time Warner and Verizon.
For the June 7 primary election, 288,673 registered voters are in CD 36. Democrats had 114,758 registered voters compared to the 106,821 registered Republicans. The gap has grown by about 3,500 voters since January. The total number of Independents is 52,023.