National parties pump money into 36th

The National Republican Congressional Committee today unveiled a new television ad that targets Democrat Raul Ruiz.

The NRCC’s $600,000 ad buy comes just one day after federally required finance reports revealed Ruiz’s fundraising significantly outpaced Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s in the last quarter.

Between July 1 and Sept. 30, Ruiz raised almost $545,000 – a new record for local Democrats — and bested the nearly $387,000 that Bono Mack received.

National Republicans haven’t traditionally had to invest in Bono Mack’s race, where the Palm Springs Republican incumbent has usually maintained a strong fundraising lead.

The national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent almost $520,000 on ads in this race to help the emergency room physician from Palm Desert. More than $20,000 of that was in donations that were reported through Ruiz’s campaign.

Bono Mack targeted by robocalls

Using last week’s Supreme Court landmark decision as a springboard to discuss health care, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched automated phone calls across the 36th Congressional District to target Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The calls accuse Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, of prioritizing insurance companies over the middle class families because she has joined a GOP rally cry to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Bono Mack – who has been on the DCCC radar for years — is one of 10 Republicans being targeted by these robocalls.

Health care is bound to be a big topic during the fall campaign for the 36th Congressional District. Bono Mack’s Democratic challenger is Raul Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert.

Ruiz getting national fundraising help

Democratic congressional candidate Raul Ruiz is hitting the campaign trail this weekend with a little help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, who is a co-chair of the DCCC Red-to-Blue program, will headline a fundraising luncheon at noon Saturday at the Democratic Headquarters of the Desert, located in Cathedral City.

The event is billed as the first event of the general election campaign.

Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert, is trying to unseat Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican campaigning for her eighth term.

National Democrats consider the new 36th Congressional seat, which includes the entire Coachella Valley, a chance to pick up another seat in their effort to regain control of the House.

Ruiz was named to the Red-to-Blue program earlier this year. The fundraising tactic allows key candidates to tap national Democratic donors.

Bono Mack targeted with protest, website

With the primary less than two weeks away, Democrats seem ready to rally their troops against Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

Local Democrats are planning a “peaceful demonstration” Thursday morning outside of the Hilton Palm Springs, where Bono Mack is scheduled to address the Palm Springs Hospitality Association.

The protest starts at 11 a.m. The $50-per-person luncheon starts at 11:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, the California Democratic Party today launched a website that targets Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, and four other GOP incumbents they’ve deemed “vulnerable.”

The site will look at controversial votes and include links to news stories, the state party announced today.

“The battle to win back the House begins and ends in California,” Tenoch Flores, communications director for the California Democratic Party, said in a release.

Bono Mack has been targeted by the state and national Democrats for years.

It intensified after the 2008 election, when the 45th district was one of eight California congressional districts represented by a Republican but was won by President Obama.

Thanks to redistricting, Bono Mack is seeking reelection in the new 36th Congressional District. She faces Democrat Raul Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert.

A press release announcing Thursday’s protest did not say whether Ruiz would attend.

Roundup from the 36th

I arrived into work today to find my email inbox filled with updates on both Rep. Mary Bono Mack and her Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz.

Curious what the congressional candidates are doing? Here’s the latest:

– Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, is gaining some national media attention. She was profiled in the Washington Post on Monday and then Roll Call published a short interview with her today.

–  That publicity hasn’t stopped Democrats from targeting her. On Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee handed out copies of the “Republican House of Scandal” calendar to GOP lawmakers across Washington.

Bono Mack was highlighted in the month of March, after political opponents criticized Bono Mack and her husband — Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, a U.S. Senate candidate — for getting homestead exemptions on both of their homes.

Officials told the Fort Myers News-Press that the couple is legally allowed to file for two exemptions as long as they maintain separate bank accounts, file their taxes separately and confirm neither is on the other’s deed for the property.

“Voters will hold Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack accountable for putting their personal interests ahead of the middle class and seniors and as a result Bono Mack may find herself out of a job next calendar year,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement.

– Speaking of the DCCC, Ruiz is in Washington today for an event that features the “Red to Blue” candidates the party hopes will help them secure control of the House.

Ruiz’s campaign manager confirmed the emergency room physician from Palm Desert was attending today’s event. According to a report in Politico, tickets to the fundraiser start at $250.

The fundraiser has already drawn criticism from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Raul Ruiz may have signed up to rubber-stamp Nancy Pelosi’s big-government agenda of reckless spending, but California families have already rejected the failed policies Ruiz is embracing,” NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said in a statement.

“California voters don’t want a representative who would rather pal around with Pelosi and Democrat special interests in Washington than listen to voters back home.”



Ruiz added to DCCC ‘Red to Blue’ list

In a sign that Democrat Raul Ruiz is gaining national attention, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today named the emergency room physician to its Red to Blue program.

The fundraising effort “highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support,” according to the DCCC website.

The higher profile means Ruiz will now benefit from national fundraising drives. Ruiz is one of 35 Democratic candidates to make the list.

Reports released last week show the political newcomer from Palm Desert raised nearly $272,000 during the first three months of the year, outpacing the fundraising efforts of Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The Palm Springs Republican incumbent still has more cash on hand.

In January, the DCCC identified the 36th Congressional campaign as one of 18 “emerging” races in the country.

“Raul Ruiz is a doctor and a problem solver who is focused on the middle class,” Rep. Steve Israel, DCCC chairman, said in a statement today.

“In Congress, Raul will fight for the middle class and seniors, not the ultra wealthy or big companies, and he will stand up to the extreme Republican agenda that ends Medicare in order to protect millionaires.”


New radio ad targets Bono Mack’s budget vote

In a continued effort to target Rep. Mary Bono Mack, national Democrats launched another radio ad campaign today that points out her support of a Republican budget plan

The short ad is paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and it echoes their earlier criticism that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan will prioritize “millionaires over Medicare.”

Both Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, and Rep. Jerry Lewis, a Redlands Republican who represents Desert Hot Springs, on Thursday joined their GOP colleagues in the House to pass Ryan’s plan.

The bill restructures Medicare, cuts federal spending and revises the individual and corporate tax codes.

Both Bono Mack and Lewis endorsed a similar Ryan budget plan last year.

Bono Mack is being challenged by Democrat Raul Ruiz in the new 36th Congressional Distirct.

It is one of eight districts nationwide where the DCCC is airing the new radio ad.

National ‘Medicare March’ campaign targets Bono Mack

The national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting Rep. Mary Bono Mack as part of its “Medicare March” campaign.

Through automated phone calls, the campaign arm for House Democrats is contacting local residents to say House Republicans such as Bono Mack have “the wrong priorities.”

“House Republicans like Mack demand seniors who earned their Medicare benefits spend thousands more, but refuse to end tax loopholes and giveaways for millionaires,” the call states. “It’s just not fair and it’s not right.”

Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, has been targeted by the DCCC for years.

As part of an effort to unseat her, Democrats are increasingly pointing out that Bono Mack backed Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan last year. The plan would have reduced federal spending by $4 trillion over the next decade, thanks in large part to cost-saving changes to Medicare and Medicaid.

“We are facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis that is threatening America’s future prosperity,” Bono Mack said in a statement after the April 2011 vote.

“To head off this crisis, we need to dramatically cut spending now. It’s outrageous to keep borrowing money for programs that we can no longer afford — no matter how well intentioned — when we have a national debt that is growing by a staggering $4 billion every day.”

Just last week, DCCC chairman Steve Israel, a congressman from New York, told The Desert Sun that Medicare would be a key issue in this year’s election.

Bono Mack is being challenged by Democrat Raul Ruiz, an emergency room from Palm Desert.

DCCC chairman Israel stumps for Ruiz

Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was in Cathedral City today to help Democrat Raul Ruiz raise some money.

About 90 people attended the $100-per-person luncheon.

Reporters were not allowed to attend the event. But Israel met exclusively with The Desert Sun after it ended.

Israel, a Democratic congressman from New York, expressed hope that the party could gain as many as eight seats across California.

“Almost everywhere I go, there is a deep fatigue with how extreme the Republicans have become in Washington,” Israel said today.

“And there’s a deep sense of buyer’s remorse with Republicans who voted lock step with that extreme and people (are) seeking alternatives to a far greater extent than ever before.”

This is the second trip to California Israel has made in two weeks. This visit included stops to three other southern California districts.

Ruiz is campaigning in the new 36th Congressional District, where Rep. Mary Bono Mack is campaigning for her eighth term in the House.

Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, has been targeted by the DCCC for several years.

For more about Israel’s visit, see Tuesday’s Desert Sun.

DCCC chairman to stump for Ruiz

The national Democrats are throwing some weight behind Dr. Raul Ruiz’s congressional campaign.

The Ruiz campaign today announced that Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is coming to Cathedral City on March 12 for a luncheon event.

The event will be held at Date Palm Country Club starting at noon. Tickets are $100 for supporters, or $25 for students.

Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert, is trying to unseat Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The event with Israel, a New York Democrat, will be his highest profile event yet.

The DCCC has for years had Bono Mack on its list of Republican incumbents they want to target.

In January, the DCCC named Ruiz’s campaign in a list of 18 “emerging” races in the country.