Raul Ruiz shares first impressions of Washington

Congressman-elect Raul Ruiz is in Washington this week as part of the 113th Congress’ freshmen orientation.

Our Washington colleague, Raju Chebium, had a chance to catch up with the Palm Desert Democrat, who says he sees “great opportunity here to really get to work.”

Mary Bono Mack’s full statement on concession to Raul Ruiz

Mary Bono Mack spoke to The Desert Sun after polls closed. (Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)

Rep. Mary Bono Mack posted the following message on her Facebook page about 6:30 p.m. Friday.

That was about an hour after the most recent voting results showed that Dr. Raul Ruiz widened the lead over her in her race for reelection to Congressional District 36:


Dear friends,

Thank you for giving me the distinct honor of serving in the United States House of Representatives for 14 years. Today, I called Dr. Ruiz and congratulated him on his impressive victory. Dr. Ruiz will do a fine job if he is guided as well by the people of the congressional district as I was. Please give him the opportunity to succeed.

After 25 years of public life in the beautiful desert, it is now time for me to start a new chapter in my life. My family and I are very excited about the prospect. It was almost 15 years ago that Sonny died and I became a Congresswoman. Honestly, nobody worked harder or gave more since then than my two amazing children. They, along with my stepson Chaz, my grandson Sonny and my beloved husband Connie have been so supportive of me this week. I simply couldn’t ask for more.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.With love to all and may God continue to bless the United States of America,Mary


See Dr. Raul Ruiz’s victory statement here.

Registrar prioritizes Raul Ruiz, Mary Bono Mack ballots for next results update

As the Riverside County Registrar of Voters prepares to release updated results today, poll workers will prioritize ballots cast in the 36th Congressional race.

About 22,000 vote-by-mail ballots had been scanned into the ballot counting machines by about 2 p.m. Friday, Registrar Kari Verjil said.

“That number will keep continuing to increase because we’ve got a few more hours,” Verjil said.

The results of those 22,000 ballots — and the undetermined number of other ballots that will be scanned in the next few hours —will be released about 6 p.m.

The registrar has 140,000 ballots left to count, or 20.5 percent of the vote left to count. That includes 64,000 vote-by-mail, 60,000 provisional and 18,000 damaged.

After sorting ballots by precincts, the poll workers have prioritized today sending through ballots that come from precincts in the 36th Congressional District.

“We are focusing on that race because we know how much interest there is,” Verjil said.

Challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz leads the incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack by 4,679 votes, or 2.82 percentage points, in his campaign for the 36th Congressional District seat.

In the Cathedral City mayoral race, challenger Chip Yarborough maintains his lead over incumbent Mayor Kathy DeRosa. He now leads by 185 votes.


Riverside County registrar: Why vote-by-mail ballot counting takes so long

More than 48 hours after polls closed, Riverside County Registrar of Voters has 164,000 ballots — or 24 percent of the vote — left to count.

It was again the last county in the state to report its Election Day results, which by Secretary of State’s measure means counting ballots from each of the precincts.

Riverside County was last of 58 for the third election in a row.

But that doesn’t even include the vote-by-mail, the provisional or the damaged ballots — and that added up to 183,000 ballots in Riverside County that still needed to be counted, even as results listed the misleading “100 percent precincts reporting”

Counting those remaining ballots — the ever-popular vote-by-mail ballot — is trickier than just a vote at a precinct, Registrar Kari Verjil said.

“It sounds like, ‘Why can’t you just rip open the ballot and count it?’ There’s a little more work that has to be done before we can do that,” she said.

First, the vote-by-mail ballots are sorted by their precincts. That started Wednesday.

Then the envelope goes into a machine to scan the signature on the back. That signature appears on a screen next to an image of that voter’s voter registration card.

A poll worker checks the two pictures to make sure the signatures match.

“It goes pretty fast once we get the images scanned,” Verjil said.

Then the ballot envelopes are sliced open, and a machine puffs air inside. A poll worker pulls the ballot out, unfolds it and checks to make sure it’s not damaged and that the voter followed instructions (i.e. drew lines, not circling their choices).

The final step? Actually counting the vote, which means running it through a ballot scanner.

“It’s a big production. There’s a lot of manual work that goes into it,” Verjil said.

About 50 poll workers spent Thursday working to verify signatures, then sending the next batch of ballots through the scanners, Verjil said.

It could take until Dec. 4 — the state-mandated deadline — to certify the final results.

Ramirez ousted; Zepeda in

Gilbert Ramirez Jr., a longtime councilman who served almost 20 years lost re-election Tuesday.

Newcomber Magdalena “Maggie” Zepeda, a teacher, will join the Coachella City Council alongside Mayor Pro Tem Emmanuel Martinez who won his bid for re-election.

According to unofficial results released early today, Zepeda garnered the most votes receiving 33.77 percent of the vote followed by Martinez with 28.4 percent.

Ramirez came in third with 19.41 percent, followed by Jesse Villarreal with 18.42 percent of the vote.

Ramirez did not return a phone call Tuesday for comment and was not available Wednesday.

Zepeda on Tuesday said she was “overwhelmed” but excited about her new role.

“I just can’t believe it. I’m just the challenger coming in,” she said.

Zepeda thinks it was her reputation that helped convince voters to support her.

“People know me and they know I do good work,” she said.

Zepeda becomes the first woman on the City Council since Rosanna Contreras lost re-election in 2004.

“Coachella has just made the best decision. I won’t let anyone down,” she said.

In the mayoral race, Eduardo Garcia was elected to his third term with 71.7 percent of the vote. He defeated businessman and former city planning director Carmen Manriquez.

Manriquez, a long-time resident of Coachella, attributes his loss to lack of experience.

“Garcia and his running mates have been around for a while–they got support from other politicians such as Perez,” he said.

“They had the expertise and support from one another.”

Despite his defeat, Manriquez feels good about the experience he gained, which he describes as “invaluable.”

“I’m not going away,” Manriquez said. “I’m staying involved with the community. I’m a resident. I have that right.”

In a last-minute swing, newcomer Beatriz “Betty” Sanchez was elected Treasurer with 49 percent of the votes.

Sanchez beat out Sara Carranza, an educator, and Irene “India” Zarate.

Though it was her first time running for a city position, Sanchez has been involved in her community on smaller levels for many years. She remembers running for school government in middle school and high school.

“If you want to know what happens in your city, you’ve got to get involved,” said Sanchez Tuesday night as she handed out candidacy flyers outside of City Hall. “I feel passionate about my city.”

Beatriz Barajas was elected City Clerk, as early results predicted. She beat out Carmelo Calderon, a youth minister and her only contender.




About 1 in 4 Riverside County ballots yet to be counted

Voter audit trail scrolls for the 100% ballot hand count are ready for examination June 17, 2010 at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Voter audit trail scrolls for the 100% ballot hand count are ready for examination June 17, 2010 at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Riverside County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil just released estimates of how many ballots have yet to be processed:

“Approximately, 105,000 vote-by-mail, 60,000 provisional, and 18,000 damaged ballots that require duplication still must be processed. Work on those ballots begins today. The next updated results will be posted at 6pm on Thursday.”

That adds up to roughly 183,000 ballots that have yet to be counted.

Pair that with the 499,027 already tallied Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and we’re looking at a total of about 682,000 ballots cast in the county by Tuesday.

The uncounted share is about a quarter of that approximate total — 26.8 percent, but we’re dealing with rough numbers.

Compare that to the 106,000 outstanding ballots that marked about 44 percent of ballots cast outstanding after Election Night in June 2010, a contest that marked the beginning of the end for former Registrar Barbara Dunmore.

Verjil has told my colleagues in the past that trends usually hold firm as these left-to-be-processed ballots are counted.

Riverside County last in California in terms of precincts reporting

A  voter audit trail scroll  is examined with the 100 percent ballot  hand count June 17, 2010, at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office in Riverside.   (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

A voter audit trail scroll is examined with the 100 percent ballot hand count June 17, 2010, at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office in Riverside. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

The 6:19 a.m. update from the California Secretary of State shows Riverside County still has only 70.8 percent of its precincts at least partially reporting.

Every other county in the state has at least one ballot counted from each of its precincts this morning, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

• For more on how the vote count works and Riverside County’s history of slow tallies, read Kate McGinty’s overnight post on election returns.

• For the latest results, visit http://mydesert.co/CVresults12

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the author of a previous post.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack all but concedes to Dr. Raul Ruiz in congressional race

Rep. Mary Bono Mack has all but conceded her heated race for a congressional seat, telling The Desert Sun she thinks Dr. Raul Ruiz will win.

“Historically speaking, he will win,” the Republican incumbent told The Desert Sun’s Erica Felci. “I suppose it’s too early to say, but historically, the trends would say the numbers will continue to go the way they’re going.”

VIDEO: Mary Bono Mack all but concedes

ELECTION RESULTS: Local & California

Ruiz took a slim lead (50.37% with 57,202 votes) over Bono Mack (49.63% with 56,327 votes) in the latest tally from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. That is about 39.7 percent of votes counted.

Bono Mack said around 12:30 a.m. that she wasn’t sure if she was staying up to watch any more tallies.

“The results of the country were not what I wanted,” she told The Desert Sun.

It was far too early to tell if they would call for a recount, Bono Mack and her aides said. Any such recount would have to be called after the final results are in.

Bono Mack said she would not be making any calls to Ruiz tonight, but would reassess her next steps “tomorrow, under the light of day.”

“I think Dr. Ruiz ran a spirited, good campaign.”

Bono Mack is running for her eighth full term.

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama: Tracking the state-by-state presidential projections

With polls closed on the East Coast, we tracked the results coming in — and, of course, the projections being made in the presidential election.

It took only a few minutes after West Coast closed its polls for several media outlets to project that President Obama won a second term.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.

Here’s the roundup of endorsements we saw:



President Barack Obama

  • Vermont (AP, FOX News) – 3 electoral votes
  • Illinois (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 20
  • Connecticut (AP, CNN) – 7
  • Maine (AP, CNN) – 4
  • D.C. (AP, CNN) – 3
  • Delaware (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 3
  • Rhode Island (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 4
  • Maryland (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 10
  • Massachusetts (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 11
  • New Jersey (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 14
  • New York (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 29
  • Michigan (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 16
  • Pennsylvania (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 20
  • Wisconsin (CBS, FOX News, NBC) – 10
  • New Hampshire (ABC News, CBS, FOX News, NPR) – 4
  • Minnesota (ABC News, NPR) – 10
  • New Mexico (ABC News, FOX News) – 5
  • California (AP, CBS) – 55
  • Hawaii (AP, CBS) – 4
  • Washington (AP, CBS) – 12
  • Ohio (AP, NPR) – 18
  • Oregon (CBS, NPR) – 7
  • Iowa (AP, NPR) – 6

Total electoral votes so far for Obama, if  these projections hold true: 287


Gov. Mitt Romney

  • Georgia (AP, CNN,  FOX News, NPR) – 16 electoral votes
  • Kentucky (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 8
  • Indiana (CNN, FOX News) – 11
  • South Carolina  (CNN, FOX News) – 9
  • West Virginia (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 5
  • Oklahoma (AP, CNN, ABC News, FOX News, NPR) – 7
  • Mississippi (AP, NPR) – 6
  • Alabama (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 9
  • Tennessee (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 11
  • Arkansas (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 6
  • Texas (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 38
  • Kansas (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 6
  • South Dakota (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • North Dakota (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • Louisiana (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 8
  • Wyoming  (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • Nebraska (AP, NPR) – 5
  • Utah (ABC News, CNN, NPR) – 6
  • Idaho (ABC News) – 4
  • Montana (CBS News) – 3
  • Missouri (CBS News) – 10
  • Arizona (AP, FOX News) – 11
  • North Carolina (NPR) – 15
  • Idaho (FOX News) – 4

Total electoral votes so far for Romney if these projections hold true: 207

Economic indicators up on Election Day 2008, 2012

20121106-161038.jpgI like numbers – who doesn’t, right? ;) – so, just for fun, I checked out some of the leading economic indicators on the day of the Nov. 4, 2008 election and posted those along with today’s closing numbers. All stock numbers are rounded to the dollar.

2012Dow Jones close: 13,246 (up 133)
Nasdaq close: 3,012 (up 12)
S&P 500 close: 1,428 (up 11)

Gold: $1,715
Oil: $88.71
Natural gas: $3.34


Dow Jones close: 9,625 (up 305)
Nasdaq close: 1,780 (up 54)
S&P 500 close: 1006 (up 39)

Gold $766
Oil: $69.95
Natural gas: $7.25