Ballotpedia: California has country’s most competitive state races

California has the most competitive state races in the country, according to an analysis released by Ballotpedia today.

The third annual State Legislative Electoral Competiveness Index looks at whether an incumbent is running for re-election; whether that incumbent had a primary election challenge; and whether there are two major party candidates in the general election showdown.

The Ballotpedia analysis found California’s incumbents will face a primary opponent in nearly 36 percent of the races.

In the Coachella Valley, voters will weigh in on two state races this year:

– In the new 42nd Assembly District, Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande faces Democrat Mark Orozco, a Beaumont Unified school board member.

– Democratic Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez faces Republican Corky Reynaga-Emett, an insurance broker from Indio.

Not one of the candidates had a primary election opponent.

Nationwide, Ballotpedia found Michigan, New Hampshire, Idaho and Nebraska round out the top 5 list of competitive state elections. The least competitive races were found in Massachusetts, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Ballot designations get certified

The California Secretary of State’s office has certified the list of primary election candidates and their official designations on the June 5 ballot.

In other parts of California, incumbents have tried to downplay their government ties by instead describing themselves as business leaders.  But the certified list shows that the desert’s incumbents are not shying away from their legislative experience.

Here’s what Coachella Valley residents will see when they vote in the three key legislative races:

36th Congressional District: Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack is listed as “U.S. representative” and Democrat Raul Ruiz is listed as “emergency room doctor.”

42nd Assembly District: Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande is listed as “lawmaker/ businessman” and Democrat Mark Orozco is listed as “educator/ school boardmember.”

56th Assembly District: Democratic Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez is listed as “Assemblymember” and Republican Corky Reynaga Emett is listed as “business woman.”

Primary candidates building campaign warchests

This week, state and local candidates on the primary ballot had to report how much the amount of money they raised and spent between Jan. 1 and March 17.

The money raised includes both donations and any loans.

Here’s a roundup of the latest fundraising:

42nd ASSEMBLY SEAT

Incumbent Brian Nestande: The Palm Desert Republican raised $23,400, spent $40,699 and has $88,177 in cash on hand.

Challenger Mark Orozco: The Beaumont Democrat raised $17,822, spent $3,855 and has $19,363 in cash on hand.

56th ASSEMBLY SEAT

Incumbent V. Manuel Pérez: The Coachella Democrat raised $58,305, spent $57,061 and has $155,935 in cash on hand.

Challenger Corky Reynaga-Emett: Fundraising details for the Indio Republican was not available on the California Secretary of State’s website today.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT SEAT 1

Incumbent Victoria Cameron raised $28,425, spent $19,933 and has $9,087 in cash on hand.

Challenger Tom Eckhardt has formed a campaign committee but fundraising details were not available on the Riverside County Registrar of Voters’ website today.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT SEAT 2

Incumbent James Cox loaned himself $50,000, spent $18,800 and has $31,202 in cash on hand.

Challenger Michael Kennedy has not yet formed a campaign committee, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters’ website.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT SEAT 9

Incumbent Craig Riemer raised $19,448, spent $26,431 and has $68,356 in cash on hand.

Challenger John Henry raised $73,701, spent $56,558 and has $83,411 in cash on hand.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT SEAT 12

Incumbent Gary Tranbarger raised $31,700, spent $19,726 and has $11,977 in cash on hand.

Challenger Richard Nixon raised $31,988, spent $17,439 and has $14,549 in cash on hand.

The candidates in the 36th Congressional race — Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack and her Democratic challenger, Dr. Raul Ruiz — have until mid-April to release their next fundraising reports.

Final day to make the ballot

Today marks the last day that candidates can qualify for the June 5 ballot.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. to turn their paperwork into the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

The registrar’s latest report shows the desert’s two incumbent Assembly members — Republican Brian Nestande and Democrat V. Manuel Perez — are procrastinating.

Nestande, of Palm Desert, was issued a declaration of candidacy and a candidate statement on Feb. 21. Perez, of Coachella, was given his on Wednesday.

But while both are campaigning for reelection in newly drawn districts, neither has actually filed their forms yet.

Their respective challengers — Democrat Mark Orozco and Republican Corky Reynaga-Emett — have already submitted their paperwork.