Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Raul Ruiz in tight race for District 36
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Less than 5,000 votes are all that separate Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) from an eighth term in office. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, however, the votes favor political newcomer Dr. Raul Ruiz.
While Ruiz is in the lead, Bono-Mack is not conceding. The Riverside County Registrar of Voters still has more than 180,000 mail-in, provisional and damaged ballots to process.
Returns show Democrat Ruiz edging Bono Mack by 2 percent. A spokesperson for Bono Mack said it is still too close of a race to call.
The congresswoman stayed positive as the numbers began rolling in Tuesday night.
"Results kind of trickle out slowly here," she said. "We're in for the long haul, we're going to sit around, I think, watch the results and see what happens."
Bono Mack is the wife of Florida Congressman Connie Mack, who failed Tuesday night in his attempt to gain a Senate seat. Bono Mack was elected in 1998 to the 36th District following the death of her husband, entertainer turned Congressman Sonny Bono.
The man who may soon be taking her place in Congress is an emergency room doctor and son of migrant farmers. Ruiz said he credits the community for bringing him this far.
"I am very proud of my community because they helped me when I was 17-years-old and I had a dream, and now I'm back and they helped me again," he said.
Re-districting may have also played a part in what may be a victory for Ruiz due to the inclusion of more independent voters.
"We're very satisfied with the outcome and we're looking forward to start working in the district and getting things done and problem solving here," Ruiz said. "We're very excited, very, very happy."
Some 105,000 mail-in ballots still must be processed, which means a winner may not be declared until this weekend.
election, riverside county, politics, leticia juarez
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