Dr. Raul Ruiz speaks Tuesday during a results watching party. (Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)
Challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz surged ahead in his race for the 36th Congressional District in the latest tally released Friday evening.
He now leads by 7,268 votes over the incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
Ruiz has 94,633 votes (52%) to her 87,365 (48%).
The Republican incumbent flew out of Palm Springs on Friday afternoon amid a national report she had conceded.
See the statement Mary Bono Mack issued about one hour after the results.
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has now counted 559,089 votes countywide since polls closed late Tuesday.
It still has about 123,000 ballots to count — or about 18 percent of the vote. The uncounted ballots are 49,500 of vote-by-mail ballots left to count, as well as 60,000 provisional and 13,500 damaged ones.
The registrar has not been able to say how many of those votes could count toward the Congressional race.
The next update will be released at 6 p.m. Saturday.
In other close Coachella Valley races, challenger Chip Yarborough now leads Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa by 208 votes.
None of the leaders in valley races changed with the latest round of updates.
After what looks to be a virtual tie for the House seat in the 36th District, Dr. Raul Ruiz finally makes a short appearance around 11 p.m. Here is some of what Ruiz said during his speech.
“Here in the Coachella Valley we have a chance to do something few people thought we could do a few months ago.”
“Each new count has brought us closer.”
“No matter what the final result. It’s clear it’s time to fix Washington.”
“It’s time to put the interest of our families above all others.”
“That story [his life story], like tonight, was not about me. It was a story about hope determination. It was a story about defeating the odds and fighting for what you believe. But most of all it was a story about a community coming together and investing in the future.”
“And tonight is a night for all of us to believe in our future.”
“These last few weeks leading up to the Election Day have been contentious.”
Regardless of if we choose mash potatoes and stuffing with our turkey on Thanksgiving we are unified in this election.
“There are no words to express my gratitude [for the work everyone has done].”
“Tomorrow, no matter what the results, the hard work begins.”