Third time a charm: Manuel Perez holds another campaign launch

May 3rd, 2013 | by Erica Felci | Comments

In case you missed the prior two announcements, Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez today held a press conference to kick off his Riverside County supervisor campaign.

Perez, a Coachella Democrat, will be challenging Supervisor John Benoit, a Bermuda Dunes Republican, in what will inevitably be one of 2014’s biggest campaigns.

Perez shared his political plans to about two dozen supporters, who stood in the noontime sun at Freedom Park in Palm Desert. The crowd included several local elected leaders, including Rancho Mirage Councilman Scott Hines, Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia and Councilman Steve Hernandez.

Perez pledged to them a “vigorous and victorious” campaign that would be backed by a bipartisan collection of community and business leaders.

He later told The Desert Sun that it’s was a little early to discuss what policy issues he’d be raising during the campaign.

But he did take a swing at one of Benoit’s biggest policy accomplishments – the implementation of a fee on solar developers who want to build in the desert.

“I oppose a fee that is not comparable to other counties,” Perez said. “We have to be competitive. You still have to ensure we create jobs. ”

Benoit has argued desert residents needed to be compensated for allowing solar panels to cover otherwise undeveloped desert.

In the nearly two years since it was enacted, The Desert Sun found the county has received $1.8 million in franchise fees from one project. But instead of benefiting the small town of Desert Center, which is nearest to the project, the money was used to help cover other county budget shortfalls.

Whatever the issues, expect this to be a potentially record-setting money race.

When we asked Perez what he expects to spend, he said aides have suggested between $750,000 to $1 million would be needed. But if elected, Perez says he will work on imposing campaign spending limits on county races like there are on other races.

Today’s press event was the third time Perez has launched his campaign. He made similar news when he filed campaign paperwork in February. And on Sunday, he shared the news with more than 250 Democrats at the annual activist awards.

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