Congressional candidate Raul Ruiz is ready to go. And ready to win.
“Very enthusiastically optimistic,” he tells Banning-Beaumont Patch, less than 24 hours prior to the polls opening on Election Day. “We’re very happy. We are very energized; we’re in a very strong position to bring this home for a victory.”
The doctor, who is hoping to unseat incumbent Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R, Palm Springs) in Tuesday’s election, wasn’t about to let a tight schedule stop him from meeting up with Pass area campaign volunteers in Banning on Monday afternoon. )
“It’s just amazing. I’m very overwhelmed by the support that I’ve been getting throughout the entire district,” he told Patch while stopped at the Carrows Restaurant on Ramsey Street to meet with about a dozen members of the Pass Democratic Club.
“We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of people that have been working their hearts out for the ideas that we stand for,” he said. “We’ve made over 300,000 phone calls. We’ve knocked on thousands and thousands of doors, and this campaign has the energy and has what it takes to win.”
Those supporters have managed to turn the tables in the newly-redistricted 36th congressional district—helping to take the traditionally red district into the blue. The latest registration numbers from the Riverside County Office of the Registrar show there are now 118 more registered Democrats than Republicans.
“We can’t take the sole credit for it, but it was definitely part of our strategic plan to win, and this is a trend that’s going to continue throughout the next several years,” Ruiz said. “We are going to continue to register folks, and it’s making a difference. We’ve had many democratic clubs, including our campaign, that were out there out-registering our opponent, and people are really excited to vote during this election.”
Members of the Pass Democratic Club were a little less modest than Ruiz, proud of their hard work at hitting the pavement and phones in support of him and other area democrats.
“We’re claiming all the glory,” said the group’s Vice President of Membership, Betty McMillion with a chuckle.
McMillion said that since July, their organization has registered 192 new voters: 152 of them democrats, 15 no political preference, and “even 25 republicans,” she said.
McMillion said that, along with 100 or so active members of their group, the Pass Democratic Club made a total of 7,052 phone calls to area voters.
Along with gaining new voters as supporters, Ruiz has earned several prominent endorsements along the campaign trail, including Senator Barbara Boxer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former President Bill Clinton.
“When I was standing on stage with him, I had a grin from ear to ear because I just imagined myself growing up in a trailer with my farm worker parents,” he told Patch. “And to think about how great our country is that it would allow someone like me from origins and humble beginnings to be able to get a good education in order to serve the community is just amazing.”
Still, though, Ruiz says the fancy endorsements aren’t the most important.
“The endorsement that matters most to me, is the endorsement from all the individuals that are going to the voting booth on Tuesday.”
Earlier this election season, Banning-Beaumont Patch caught up with Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack when she was in town. Read that report here.